Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Bolshevik Union

War and Proletarian Revolution


First Published: International Correspondence, No. 1 Spring-Summer 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Rattling sabers, loaded guns and readied missiles. Everywhere there is growing war hysteria and militarism. US imperialism and Russian imperialism have dropped all pretence to “detente” and “disarmament.” Even the “SALT II” agreement, an agreement on war preparations, has been abandoned because it is an inhibition on the all out preparation for war. All over the world there is a massive accumulation of weapons of destruction and the imperialists are clamoring for more and more. The western imperialist bloc is greatly expanding its expenditure on armaments. A whole new major deployment of nuclear weapons has been announced for Europe. For years the Russian bloc has expended more of its economy on the expansion of its military arsenal than any rival. As Lenin once said “so much powder has been accumulated that the guns will go off of themselves.”[1]

The US is preparing public opinion in the West to accept a new war. First hysteria was whipped up over the artificially created incident at the US embassy in Iran to get Americans to accept another imperialist war in backward countries. And then using the naked aggression of the Russian imperialists against Afghanistan, the American imperialists came out as the “champion” of oppressed nations to justify going to war with the Russians. The US has always ignored Russian sponsored resolutions at the United Nations condemning US imperialist acts, but the US was more than happy to use this forum to condemn Russian imperialist actions. The US is now using the Olympics to test an alignment of forces for a war.

Both sides in the coming war are trying to win sympathy from the masses through the incredible demagogy that they represent the just aspiration of peoples for freedom against the imperialist ambitions of the other side to enslave the world, that they are the ones struggling for peace against the warmongering of the other. Brezhnev’s policies of “detente” and Carter’s policies of “human rights” have been policies to prepare the invasion of Afghanistan and the “Carter Doctrine” of annexation of the Middle East and war with the Russian imperialists.

War is a continuation of the politics that preceded the war. As Lenin said:

“War is politics continued by other (i.e., forcible) means.” This famous dictum belongs to one of the profoundest writers on military questions, Clausewitz. Rightly, the Marxists have always considered this axiom as the theoretical foundation for their understanding the meaning of every war. It is from this standpoint that Marx and Engels regarded wars.

Apply this idea to the present war. You will find that for decades, for almost half a century, the governments and the ruling classes of England, France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Russia, conducted a policy of colonial robbery, of suppressing labour movements, of oppressing foreign nations. Such a policy, and no other one, is being pursued also in the present war.[2]

Apply this idea to the present international situation. You will find that the imperialist powers have been for decades pursuing the policy of enslavement of the peoples in the colonial, semi-colonial and backward countries, of oppressing foreign nations and suppressing the labour movement everywhere. You will also find that this policy is leading to another world war among the imperialists to redivide the world among them. The politics of the last three decades are the politics of the coming war, the politics of forcibly redividing the world. (Let us be clear that we do not believe the imperialists could have pursued a different, non-imperialist, non-aggressive policy.)

We have seen three decades of unbridled rivalry between two blocs of imperialist powers fighting for control and plunder of small and weak nations. This fighting has been “peaceful” in the form of economic and political warfare and subversion and has many times become open armed warfare for control of this or that country. Peace has prevailed in Europe and North America between the imperialists but this peace is only a preparation for the coming war, it is a peace that does not exist in much of the world because war has already begun and has been waged for years in the oppressed nations. Just as before World War I: “Peace reigned in Europe, but this peace was maintained because the rule of the European nations over hundreds of millions of inhabitants over colonies was exercised only by constant, uninterrupted and ceaseless wars, which we Europeans do not regard as wars, because often they resemble, not wars, but the brutal massacre, extermination, of unarmed people.”[3] The butchery in Afghanistan is only the latest of a long list of such wars. It is estimated that in the last thirty years there has only been 18 days without war somewhere in the world.

These small wars and the periodic large ones between the imperialists are not something accidental or the product of “human nature.” They are the inevitable result of the epoch we live in, the inevitable result of the imperialist system.

Imperialism is the highest stage in the development of capitalism, one that has been reached only in the twentieth century. Capitalism began to feel cramped within the old national states, without the formation of which it could not overthrow feudalism. Capitalism has brought about such economic concentration that entire branches of industry are in the hands of syndicates, trusts, or corporations of billionaires; almost the entire globe has been parceled out among the “giants of capital,” either in the form of colonies, or through the entangling of foreign countries by thousands of threads of financial exploitation. Free trade and competition have been superseded by tendencies towards seizure of lands for the investment of capital, for the export of raw materials, etc. Capitalism, formerly a liberator of nations, has now, in its imperialist stage, become the greatest oppressor of nations. Formerly progressive, it has become a reactionary force. It has developed the productive forces to such an extent that humanity must either pass over to Socialism, or for years, nay, decades witness armed conflicts of “great” nations for an artificial maintenance of capitalism by means of colonies, monopolies, privileges, and all sorts of national oppression.[4]

Eight decades into the twentieth century, imperialism is still trying to paint itself as a liberator of nations. It is the unbridled sway of bourgeois propaganda that allows a thoroughly bankrupt force like US imperialism, the butcher of the peoples of Indo China, of peoples all over the world, to portray itself as the advocate of “human rights,” the defender of “democracy” and the saviour of the peoples from Russian imperialism. US imperialism is sparing no effort to propagate the view that if war breaks out it is the Russian bloc that is the aggressor and the US is just “defending” itself. But the “Carter Doctrine” proves that what the US will be defending is its imperialist control over oil in the Mid East, its imperialist positions throughout the world from the Russians who are expanding their own imperialist interests. This propaganda will only increase as the world gets closer to war.[5]

The demagogy of US imperialism is more than matched by the Russian imperialists who try to justify their perfidious activity by pretending the Soviet Union of old, the socialist Soviet Union, still exists. They attempt to cover up the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and the transformation of the formerly socialist Soviet Union into an imperialist great power where the Great Russian nation has enslaved the formerly equal minority nationalities and incorporated most of the old socialist camp into a powerful imperialist bloc.[6] The Russian imperialists use the mask of socialism to justify the growing exploitation and oppression of the peoples of the Russian bloc, to justify the enslavement of oppressed peoples to serve the glory of “building Communism” in Russia. Under the banner of “proletarian internationalism” the Russian imperialists dispatch their armies and hire mercenaries to butcher the “enemies of the revolution,” those peoples who resist the imperialist ambitions of the new imperialists in the Kremlin.

After the assassination of Stalin, the Russian revisionists reversed the revolutionary stand of the socialist Soviet Union – from that of leading the struggle to overthrow imperialism on a world scale to a stand of capitulation before imperialism and collaboration with it. They turned the tactic of a peace movement into a strategy to capitulate to imperialism. They converted the tactic of peaceful coexistence, a tactic to give the socialist camp time to prepare against the coming imperialist attacks, into a strategy for cooperation in the imperialist partition of the world. The Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin was transformed from the stand of proletarian internationalism to a stand of social-chauvinism and social-imperialism. Russia today carries the politics of those revisionists of the Second International that Lenin struggled so valiantly against. These modern revisionists hold state power so they are not in favour of western imperialism, they are in favour of their own imperialism. Therefore they use the contradictions that exist with the west to portray themselves as “anti-imperialist” when in reality these contradictions represent inter-imperialist contradictions between two imperialist blocs competing for control of each other’s colonies, semi-colonies, dependent nations and spheres of influence.

The Russian imperialists talk of peace and disarmament, while they have built the largest military apparatus the world has even known and have expanded its military presence to every corner of the globe. They would like us to believe that the military expansion of the Western bloc is imperialism, while their own military expansion is a struggle for “peace”! Under Khrushchev the Russian revisionists tried to avoid a war with the western bloc in order to consolidate its position. But under Brezhnev the Russian imperialists have outgrown the bounds of their bloc, a bloc that has shrunken to some degree with the loss of China and the “non-alignment” of Yugoslavia, Korea and Rumania. The Eastern European countries have heavily indebted themselves to Western banks as has Russia itself. The Russian bloc’s economy has stagnated and Russia has a shortage of semi-colonies and spheres of influence to compensate. Russia does not have the capital to displace US imperialism in the sphere of capital exports through Khrushchev’s old programme of burying the west economically. Russia has managed to displace Western imperialism here and there principally by buying out national liberation forces. This gives Russian imperialism a different appearance than US imperialism, and has placed some constraints on its imperialist possibilities. The path to “glory” that the Russians have chosen is military redivision of the world; this is why Russia has expended so much to try to gain an edge on the western bloc. It appears that Russia now has that military edge and has tested the waters in Afghanistan. The western bloc is somewhat panicked in the face of this and it is an extremely dangerous period for the outbreak of war.

The demagogy of both imperialist blocs is aimed principally at the working class and the oppressed nations because the imperialists need their support in order to wage the war. “Imperialism,” Lenin said, “is the final stage of capitalism’s development, a stage at which it has gone as far as to divide the whole world, and two gigantic groups are locked in a life-and-death struggle. You must serve one group or the other, or overthrow both groups. There’s is no middle way.”[7] It is part of the war preparations that the two groups are trying to get the world to serve one or the other.

Today the world is even in greater danger of war because there is so little opposition to it in the working class and in the oppressed nations. This has been brought about by the historic victory of revisionism and imperialism over the socialist camp. Today the overwhelming majority of those who call themselves socialist openly serve one or the other imperialist bloc. This was not always the case. Before the first imperialist war the socialist parties in the world, at least, in word, opposed the war before it broke out. They even favoured revolutionary action to end a war. The Basle Manifesto of the Second International stated that:

If a war threatens to break out, it is the duty of the working classes and their parliamentary representatives in the countries involved, supported by the coordinating activity of the International Socialist Bureau, to exert every effort in order to prevent the outbreak of war by the means they consider most effective, which naturally vary according to the sharpening of the class struggle and the sharpening of the general political situation.

“In case war should break out anyway, it is their duty to intervene in favour of its speedy termination and with all their powers to utilize the economic and political crisis created by the war to arouse the people and thereby to hasten the downfall of capitalist rule.”[8]

Even in a situation where the socialists and the workers movement were committed in word to this position, the imperialists proceeded with war, calling in the debts of those they had bribed and corrupted, the labour aristocracy and the socialist party leaders and succeeded in splitting the international and getting the overwhelming majority to support “their” imperialists. If in this situation in Lenin’s day so little of the socialist and workers movement in practice opposed the imperialists at the beginning of the war, what can be expected of the situation today?

The “socialists” who sold out to the imperialists in World War I are still sold out. The “Socialist International” loyally serves the Western imperialist bloc, supports NATO and the war preparations. The NDP in Canada has pledged its support in a new war. Some of these parties are in power in Europe and actively participate in the war preparations. These parties are loyal servants to prepare the working class to serve the imperialists in a war, as loyal as the Republicans and Democratic Parties in the US. As a result of World War I the international movement split and Lenin and the Bolsheviks organized the revolutionary proletariat to turn the war into a civil war and organized the revolutionary proletariat into the Third International. But the Third International was destroyed by the modern revisionists who after the death of Stalin turned the international communist movement into a prop of Russian imperialism. So the contradiction between the Social Democrats and the Communists, the contradiction between reformism and revolution, was turned into a contradiction over which imperialist bloc to serve.

Forces that split with the Russian revisionists did not split in order to defend Marxism-Leninism from the attacks of the revisionists. China and Albania signed the 1957 and 1960 Moscow Declarations and concluded a unity of views with the Russian revisionists on the support for Russian imperialism, the abandonment of proletarian revolution and the real national liberation struggles. When they did split with Russia, it was because of their own social-nationalism and had little to do with principle.[9] The Russian revisionists abandoned the Marxist position on war and tried to get the workers to cower in fear of nuclear weapons and concede the imperialists their desires in order to avoid the war the Russians themselves were preparing. The CPC and the PLA had a basic unity of views on these questions.

China tried to make a deal with the Russians to be partners in crime but the Russians refused.[10] Even when Khrushchev was replaced by Brezhnev, Chou En Lai went, Mao cap in hand, to make a deal, but Russia would not accept China’s terms. A period of intense factional struggle in China then occurred known as the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.” The result of this “revolution” was that the factions that wanted to ally with US imperialism won out and Nixon came to China to conclude the deal with Mao. The Chinese revisionists then elaborated the theory of “three worlds” to justify openly allying with the Western imperialist bloc. China now advocates war and the arming of the Western bloc to win it. China encourages the proletariat and oppressed nations to openly ally with the imperialists.

Everywhere those that proclaim themselves as “socialist” are openly aligning to serve one bloc or another even before a war starts. The Basle Manifesto said “the fear of the ruling classes of a proletarian revolution as a result of a world war has proved to be an essential guarantee of peace.”[11] The bourgeoisie feared this possibility, but also knew the degree of opportunist corruption in the Second International, and they went to war anyway. Fortunately Lenin and the Bolsheviks as well as revolutionaries in some other countries struggled to turn the war into a civil war, eventually leading the proletariat in breaking the imperialist chain and winning Russia for the cause of socialism. As a result of World War II international Bolshevism led by Stalin widened the breach in the imperialist front to include many other countries. But what does the bourgeoisie have to fear in facing the coming war? Before World War I at least it faced a socialist movement that in word opposed the war and a significant minority put this opposition into practice. Before World War II the bourgeoisie faced a powerful revolutionary camp headed by the Socialist Soviet Union and the Communist International. After World War II the bourgeoisie faced a large socialist camp. But what does the bourgeoisie face today? A “socialist” movement that advocates alliance with one bloc or the other and that agitates in favour of war with the result that trade union bureaucracies are some of the most bellicose advocates of war. This disgusting victory of social-chauvinism is not a mere ideological question, the imperialists have bribed and corrupted strata of the proletariat and petty bourgeoisie with the superprofits from enslaving foreign nations and has bought their support for new wars of colonial expansion. This is the social basis of the disgusting victory of social chauvinism and revisionism.

There is no longer a socialist camp that is struggling for peace. There is only the unbridled competition of two imperialist blocs to redivide the world. This war has been in preparation for three decades and during this time the general crisis of imperialism has greatly intensified. Both imperialist blocs are sinking deeper and deeper into economic and political crisis where the question of redividing the control of natural resources and spheres of capital export have become urgent questions of the day for the bourgeoisie. With the lack of organized opposition to the war in the international proletariat the world stands on the precipice of the most destructive war in history.

Who Will Oppose This War?

Many have looked to the Party of Labour of Albania as the Leninist alternative to Russian and Chinese revisionism because of its seemingly revolutionary criticism of the theory of “three worlds.” In fact these people confuse the positions of the PLA with Leninism when in fact they represent a modern version of Kautskyism. Kautsky, in Lenin’s day, broke with the open social-chauvinists but took a centrist, conciliatory stand and opposed proletarian revolution in practice and supported pacifism instead. There is no question that exposes the PLA more than the question of war. The PLA completely abandons the mask of Marxism-Leninism on this question.

Lenin said: “Social-Democracy has never regarded and does not regard war from a sentimental point of view. Unswervingly denouncing wars as a brutal method of deciding the disputes of mankind, Social-Democracy knows that wars are inevitable as long as society is divided into classes, as long as the exploitation of man by man exists.”[12] The PLA tells us that “in our time” war is no longer inevitable. The PLA says: “It is true that as long as imperialism and its policy of war and aggression exist, the danger of various wars will exist, including an imperialist world war, which is the product of this order and this policy. But this is only one possibility. In our time another possibility exists, namely the possibility to stay the hand of the imperialists and to prevent them from unleashing a new world war.”[13]

This is a total rejection of the Leninist line that the era of imperialism makes reactionary imperialist wars even more inevitable, Lenin said:

When... we speak of the present European War and condemn it, we do so only because it is waged by an oppressing class.

What are the aims of the present war? If we are to believe the diplomats in all countries, it is being waged by France and Britain in defence of small nationalities against barbarians, the German Huns; by Germany it is being waged against Cossack barbarians, who are threatening the cultured German people, and in defence of the fatherland against enemies attacking it.

But we know that this war was prepared, drew ever closer, and was INEVITABLE. It was just as inevitable as war is between the United States and Japan. What made it inevitable?

The fact that capitalism has concentrated the world’s wealth in the hands of individual states, has divided up the earth to the last bit. Any further division, any further enrichment can only take place at the expense of others, by one state gaining at the expense of another. Force alone can decide the issue – hence war among the global vultures became inevitable.[14]

Apparently the PLA feels that “in our time” the “global vultures” can redivide the world without force or have no need to. For the PLA there is only the “danger of war.” The PLA claims “another possibility exists,” a possibility not seen by Lenin in our time. The PLA has rendered Lenin more “profound” by substituting pacifism for Leninism. The PLA asks: “It it not possible today to avoid a third world war if, as Stalin said, the peoples take the question of peace in their hands and carry it through to the end? To preach the inevitability of a new world war means to mistrust the revolutionary, democratic and peace loving forces of the peoples, means to paralyze their will and efforts to secure peace, means to encourage and incite the armaments’ race, to leave the imperialist warmongers a free hand to unleash war.”[15]

The PLA uses Stalin’s name only to attack his political line. Stalin, in 1952, said “the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries remains in force. It is said that Lenin’s thesis that imperialism inevitably generates war must now be regarded as obsolete, since powerful popular forces have come forward today in defense of peace and against another world war. That is not true.”[16] For the PLA, “in our time” Stalin is wrong and the Leninist thesis on the inevitability of war does not apply. But how is “our time” so changed that Leninism is no longer true? Stalin struggled against this revisionist thesis, upheld by the PLA, at a time when there was a large socialist camp, a large international communist movement and a large peace movement. Even under these conditions Stalin said “What is most likely is that the present-day peace movement, as a movement for the preservation of peace, will, if it succeeds, result in preventing a particular war, in its temporary postponement, in the temporary preservation of a particular peace, in the resignation of a bellicose government and its supercession by another that is prepared temporarily to keep the peace. That of course will be good. Even very good. But, all the same, it will not be enough to eliminate the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries generally. It will not be enough, because, for all the successes of the peace movement, imperialism will remain, continue in force – and consequently, the inevitability of wars will continue in force. To eliminate the inevitability of war it is necessary to abolish imperialism.”[17]

For the PLA, “in our time,” it is no longer “necessary to abolish imperialism” “to eliminate the inevitability of war.” The PLA takes up the very modern revisionist line that Stalin was attacking and in its place the PLA inserts social pacifism. The PLA does this at a time when there is no socialist camp, even counting the PLA’s franchised parties, a miniscule international communist movement and a virtually non-existant peace movement countering both imperialist blocs. Even if Albania was the only socialist country in the world, what would its real ability to even temporarily postpone any war be? Albania might exert some momentary influence on events in the Balkans, but to raise this to the level of theory is to expose the social nationalism on which the PLA bases its line. Today imperialism is much more in force than in 1952, when Stalin was writing the above quoted material. “In our time” the forces of peace are in complete disarray and atrophy. Under these conditions war is even more inevitable and the chances to even temporarily influence even particular conflicts is virtually non-existant. And this problem is greatly worsened by the abandonment by the PLA of the Leninist-Stalinist line on war. For the PLA to maintain that upholding the inevitability of war encourages war is to raise the old social-democratic pacifist attacks on communism. The Sixth Congress of the Communist International drew attention to how “the Social Democrats deliberately charge Communists with encouraging imperialist wars” because communists propagate “that imperialist wars are inevitable as long as the bourgeoisie remains in power.”[18]

The PLA completely ignores the lessons of World War I drawn by Lenin, which the Sixth Congress of the Comintern drew particular attention to. The Comintern quotes Lenin saying:

It is essential again and again, and as concretely as possible, to explain to the masses what the situation was at the time of the last war and why that situation was inevitable.

It is particularly necessary to explain to the masses the significance of the fact that the question of “national defense” is becoming an inevitable question, which the enormous majority of the toilers will inevitably decide in favor of their own bourgeoisie.

In view of recent experiences of war, we must explain that on the morrow of the declaration of war, such an enormous number of theoretical and social questions will arise, that the overwhelming majority of the men called up for service will find it utterly impossible to examine them with a clear head and with any degree of impartiality.

We must tell the masses the real facts about the profound secrecy in which the governments make their plans for war and how impotent the ordinary labor organizations, even those that call themselves revolutionary, are in face of the imperialist war.[19]

This truth is ignored by the PLA which contents itself with some pacifist slogans and ignores how incredibly more impotent the labour organizations are going to be in face of the coming imperialist war where the overwhelming majority of self-proclaimed socialists and labour leaders are actively for imperialism. To speak the truth on these matters is not to help the imperialists, who are well aware of this situation, but to help the proletariat to break from pacifist demagogues like the PLA and to show the real communist tasks in relation to imperialist war. The PLA tells us that “today, the true socialist countries, the world proletariat, the peoples who are against war, against hegemonism and imperialist and social-imperialist oppression, constitute a colossal force able to restrain the warmongers.”[20] Only those who hide their minds in pompous Albanian proclamations and ignore the real world could believe such nonsense. What socialist countries? Albania’s followers say that Albania is the only socialist country.

What countries could the PLA mean, Vietnam, Korea, Rumania... ? Vietnam is a great example, struggling for peace by invading Cambodia and fighting China on behalf of Russian imperialism. All over the world the opposition to one imperialist bloc is set up by the other, “national liberation movements” are routinely set up by the imperialists. The proletariat is led by parties and labour leaders that advocate war and there is hardly any socialist press to oppose the entire bourgeois media from whipping up war hysteria. In a situation where there was in fact a strong socialist camp and peace movement, Stalin made it clear that the best that could be expected is a temporary postponement of a particular conflict, but the PLA tells us “our Party upholds the thesis that aggressive world wars can be prevented if the world proletariat, the peoples of the entire world, will not allow the imperialists and social-imperialists to set the world on fire.”[21] This was pacifist nonsense in Lenin and Stalin’s day, but it is absolute criminal treachery against the proletariat and world’s peoples today. When the Social Democrats, and Russian and Chinese revisionists are preaching war, the PLA is trying to deceive the world into thinking that the line of Lenin and Stalin is the pacifist betrayal of revolution peddled by the PLA. There is nothing so-called “Communists” can do to incite the imperialists more towards war than this pacifist demagogy because what the imperialists fear most is that an imperialist war might be turned into a civil war by the proletariat. This is exactly what the PLA fears as well. The PLA says: “The only correct Marxist-Leninist course towards unjust imperialist wars, hence also towards a new world war, is that of preventing them.”[22] Lenin said that “The essential thing is not merely to prevent war, but to utilize the crisis created by war in order to hasten the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.”[23] For the PLA the essential thing is the preservation of peace, divorcing this from the question of revolution and promoting that peace is possible without revolution. It is in fact this kind of position that demoralizes the proletariat and plays into the hands of the imperialists. “A propaganda of peace” Lenin said, “if not accompanied by a call to revolutionary mass actions, is only capable of spreading illusions, of demoralizing the proletariat by imbuing it with confidence in the humanitarianism of the bourgeoisie, making it a plaything in the hands of the secret diplomacy of the belligerent countries. In particular, the idea of the possibility of a so-called democratic peace without a series of revolutions is deeply erroneous.”[24]

The PLA’s “Leninism” preaches that which Lenin called “deeply erroneous.” In fact the PLA totally rejects Leninism by denying that there is a connection between war and revolution. The PLA says “war is neither the source nor an essential condition for the socialist revolution to break out.”[25] The Comintern took quite a different view of the relationship of war and socialist revolution. In summing up the experiences of World War I and drawing the lessons for the future war, the Sixth Congress of the Comintern said:

Just as the world war of 1914-1918 led directly to the victorious proletarian revolution in the former Tsarist Empire, to the development of the liberation movement in the colonies and to uprisings and revolutionary mass movements among the European proletariat, so too a new war will rouse a mighty revolutionary movement that will embrace the industrial workers of America, the broad masses of peasants in agrarian countries and the millions of oppressed peoples of the colonies.[26]

The PLA denies that the proletariat and oppressed masses can take advantage of the tremendous destruction caused by imperialist war to organize for revolution. The PLA also denies the historical experience of the October Revolution and in fact their own revolution. Stalin understood this relationship between war and revolution and this is why he said, in the face of an approaching war, that proletarian revolution was the result the bourgeoisie obtained from the World War I and it would be the result of another war. “The result they obtained” Stalin said speaking of the imperialists in the first imperialist war,“ was the smashing of capitalism in Russia, the victory of the proletarian revolution in Russia, and – of course – the Soviet Union. What guarantee is there that a second imperialist war will produce ’better’ results for them than the first? Would it not be more correct to assume that the opposite will be the case?”[27] A war which Stalin saw as inevitable in 1934 [28] produced the vast socialist camp that included Albania. “It can hardly be doubted,” Stalin said in 1934, “that a second war against the USSR will lead to the complete defeat of the aggressors, to revolution in a number of countries in Europe and in Asia, and to the destruction of the bourgeois-landlord governments in those countries.”[29]

Stalin, unlike the PLA, based himself on the Leninist teachings on war and revolution which are firmly rooted in the best internationalist traditions of the world proletariat. “What are the tasks of the working class with regard to this war? The answer to this question,” Lenin said, “is provided in a resolution unanimously adopted by the socialists of the whole world at the Basle International Socialist Congress of 1912. This resolution was adopted in anticipation of a war of the very kind as started in 1914. This resolution says that the war is reactionary, that it is being prepared in the interests of ’capitalist profits,’ that the workers consider it ’a crime to shoot each other down,’ that the war will lead to ’a proletarian revolution,’ that an example for the workers’ tactics was set by the Paris Commune of 1871, and by October-December 1905 in Russia, i.e., by a revolution.”[30] The Paris Commune, the 1905 revolution, the 1917 revolution and the revolutions as a result of World War II all came about in relationship to war, but the PLA is to have us believe there is no essential relationship between war and revolution. If war, however, does not produce revolution, mankind will be condemned to suffering future wars and this is the situation today. Lenin long ago made clear the necessity of proletarian revolution coming from war in order to stop war.

Imperialism has put the fate of European civilisation at stake: this war, if there does not follow a series of successful revolutions, will soon be followed by other wars; the fable of the “last war” is an empty, harmful fable, a philistine “myth” (to use the correct expression of Golos). If not to-day, then certainly to-morrow; if not during the present war, then after it; if not in this war, then in the following one, the proletarian banner of civil war will rally not only hundreds of thousands of enlightened workers, but also millions of semi-proletarians and petty bourgeois who are now being fooled by chauvinism and who, besides being frightened and benumbed by the horrors of the war, will also be enlightened, taught, aroused, organized, hardened and prepared for a war against the bourgeoisie both of “their own” and of the “foreign” countries.[31]

The PLA ignores this reality to preach pacifist mobilization against the war. As Lenin said “Down with the sentimental and foolish preacher’s yearnings for a ”peace at any price!” Let us raise the banner of civil war!“[32] But this is the banner the social pacifists of the PLA fear the most. They openly reject holding this banner. The PLA tells us “the Marxist-Leninist communist are against that road of the triumph of the revolution which goes through imperialist war, because such a war and more so in present-day conditions of a thermo-nuclear war, would be fraught with devastating consequences for the peoples, for the present and future of mankind. The communists are not indifferent towards the course followed and means used to achieve the triumph of the revolution and socialism. They are against the view that the end justifies the means.”[33] This is utter and total betrayal in the face of the enemy, to guarantee the imperialists before a war that communists “are against that road to the triumph of the revolution which goes through imperialist war.” This is counter-revolutionary betrayal of the international proletariat and the oppressed nations and it will not have the desired results the PLA wants. It will not “stay the hand of the imperialists” but encourage them to think that they can wage imperialist war with impunity. The Comintern combated this kind of “revolutionary” pacifism and exposed it at the Sixth Congress.

“Radical” or “revolutionary” pacifism, advocated by certain “Left” Socialists who admit the danger of war, but strive to combat this danger frequently by meaningless phrases against war. These pacifists lay excessive stress upon the destructiveness of modern weapons of war in order, either to prove that protracted wars are impossible, or else to demonstrate that it is impossible to transform imperialist war into civil war.[34]

The PLA are just such “revolutionary” pacifists who cower in fear in the face of the destructiveness of modern weapons and proclaim to the imperialists that “the Marxist-Leninist communists are against that road to the triumph of the revolution which goes through imperialist war.” The PLA tries to pass this betrayal as a concern for the “devastating consequences for the peoples,” but it is these “devastating consequences” that mobilizes people for the proletarian revolution. Lenin explained it this way:

The millions of victims who will fall in the war, and as a consequence of the war, will not fall in vain. The millions who are starving, the millions who are sacrificing their lives in the trenches, are not only suffering, they are also gathering strength, are pondering over the real cause of the war, are becoming more determined and are acquiring a clearer revolutionary understanding. Rising discontent of the masses, growing ferment, strikes, demonstrations, protests against the war – all this is taking place in all countries of the world. And this is the guarantee that the European War will be followed by the proletarian revolution against capitalism.[35]

This does not mean as the Social-Democrats always charged that Communists are in favor of imperialist war to accelerate revolution. But communists realize that war is inevitable and that the destruction visited upon the peoples by the imperialists is inevitable. Communists use this destruction to mobilize the masses for revolution. Before the war they organize the fight against the outbreak of imperialist war, but they do not deceive the exploited by the pacifist demagogy used by the PLA. As the Comintern said communists “know that imperialist wars are inevitable as long as the bourgeoisie remain in power....Indeed the Social Democrats deliberately charge the communists with encouraging imperialist wars in order to accelerate the advent of Revolution...(this) is a silly calumny. Although convinced that war is inevitable under the rule of the bourgeoisie, the Communists, in the interests of the masses of the workers and of all the toilers who bear the brunt of the sacrifice entailed by war, wage a persistent fight against imperialist war and strive to prevent imperialist war by proletarian revolution.”[36] The PLA does not strive to prevent imperialist war by proletarian revolution but through pacifist actions to “stay the hand of the imperialists” and they promote the illusion this will prevent war. Communists strive to prevent war in order to postpone it, to better carry out the work that will facilitate transforming the coming war into a civil war. “It is clear,” the Sixth Congress of the Comintern states, “that a postponement of the imperialist war measures by the mass actions of the proletariat will create conditions that will considerably facilitate the transformation of this war into civil war and the overthrow of the imperialists.”[37]

Communists must do their work before the war to lay the basis for turning the war into a civil war. “The proletariat,” says the Sixth Congress, “fights against the wars between imperialist states with a programme of defeatism and the transformation of the war into a civil war against the bourgeoisie.”[38] The programme of the PLA is to prevent wars and they are “against that road to the triumph of the revolution which goes through imperialist war.” The PLA admits that: “It is true that wars, while causing the peoples great suffering and misery, create conditions favourable to throw them into revolution”[39] but they refuse to take advantage of these favourable conditions because they “are against the view that the end justifies the means”! The Comintern says that communists must explain to the masses “the impossibility of limiting the struggle to certain fixed methods and the need for bringing into action all forms of the class struggle,”[40] particularly and especially the call for civil war because we are categorically in favour of “that road to the triumph of the revolution which goes through the imperialist war”! By refusing to use imperialist war as the prelude to proletarian revolution, the PLA condemns the proletariat to suffer the consequences of war in vain, with no hope of putting a permanent end to the horrors of imperialist war. Such is its absolute betrayal. The PLA is like the opportunists of Lenin’s day who were “confining themselves in the struggle against militarism to a sentimental, philistine point of view, instead of recognizing the necessity for a revolutionary war of the proletarians of all countries, against the bourgeoisie of all countries.”[41]

The PLA is often giving speaches about how we live in the same epoch as Lenin and how the PLA upholds Leninism against all attackers, but this is just so much phrasemongering because “in our time” the PLA denies the revolutionary essence of Leninism and thereby denies the path to revolution. The PLA can tell us that “war is neither the source nor an essential condition for the socialist revolution to break out” but this is to deny openly and consciously Lenin’s theory of proletarian revolution and to thereby deny the proletariat and the oppressed nations the means to overthrow imperialism. Stalin explains the importance of war in Lenin’s theory of proletarian revolution by explaining that there is an “intensification of the revolutionary crisis within the capitalist countries and growth of the elements of an explosion on the internal front in the ’metropolises’ and secondly there is “intensification of the revolutionary crisis in the colonial countries and growth of the elements of revolt against imperialism on the external front.” Then Stalin elucidates the Third thesis that explains how the revolutionary crisis on these two fronts is turned into a world front of revolution.

Third Thesis: The monopolistic possession of “spheres of influence” and colonies; the uneven development of capitalist countries, leading to a frenzied struggle for the redivision of the world between the countries which have already seized territories and those claiming their “share”; means of restoring the disturbed “equilibrium” – all this leads to the intensification of the third front, the inter-capitalist front, which weakens imperialism and facilitates the union of the first two fronts against imperialism: the front of the revolutionary proletariat and the front of colonial emancipation.

Hence the third conclusion: that under imperialism wars cannot be averted, and that a coalition between the proletarian revolution and the colonial revolution in the East in a united world front of revolution against the world front of imperialism is inevitable.

Lenin combines all these conclusions into one general conclusion “imperialism is the eve of the socialist revolution.”[42]

Put simply, anyone who does not uphold this is not a Leninist and anyone who does not think it applies “in our time” is a revisionist. Its application “in our time” is particularly important because of the destruction of the socialist camp and the consequent break between the proletarian front and the colonial front which is so painfully obvious to anyone who cares to look. The PLA consciously breaks from Lenin’s theory of proletarian revolution. This is clear from its constant pronouncements about revolution in general, and very rarely about the proletarian revolution. The PLA recognizes that war could break out, but in its prescription of what to do the PLA reveals its total departure from Leninism. Hoxha said at the Seventh Congress, and it is quoted in every PLA article on war (admittedly not many) that: “If an aggressive imperialist war cannot be prevented, then it is the task of the revolutionaries and the proletariat to turn it into a liberation war.”[43] Lenin never referred to the matter this way. He always specified that imperialist war could not be prevented and that it was the duty of communists and proletarians to turn it into a civil war, a proletarian revolution for socialism. What Hoxha obviously means is that if pacifism fails, “defend the fatherland” in a “liberation war.” What in the vocabulary of Marxism is a “liberation war”? Marxism has always referred to national liberation wars which Marxists have always supported, but a cornerstone of Leninism is that capitalism has been transformed into imperialism and capitalism no longer plays a liberating role. Under imperialism we support national liberation wars against imperialism but never the wars of imperialists as “liberation wars.” Lenin said “the historic era of national wars is past. We are now confronted with an imperialist war, and it is the task of socialists to turn the ’national’ war into a civil war.”[44] Hoxha is not ignorant of history, why is he so careful to avoid the Leninist position of turning imperialist war into a civil war? Hoxha’s avoidance of Lenin’s formulations is like Kautsky’s avoidance of the Basle manifesto. “This leader”, Lenin said of Kautsky, “dodges the exact and formal declarations of the Basle and Chemnitz Congresses as carefully as a thief dodges the place of his last theft”[45]. Hoxha tries to avoid just as carefully the exact and formal declaration of revolutionary Marxism since the Basle manifesto.

Hoxha is preparing a Kautskyite betrayal with his talk of “aggressive imperialist wars.” Lenin said “it is...absurd to divide wars into defensive and aggressive.”[46] Hoxha obviously thinks there can be “defensive” imperialist wars, i.e., “liberation wars.” This is exactly the kind of sophism Lenin exposed Kautsky for. “This is a new sophism and a new deception of the workers: the war, if you please, is not a ’purely’ imperialist one!... It appears that this is a national war as well!”[47] A “liberation war” if you please. “ ’The ruling classes’ bamboozle narrow-minded petty bourgeois and browbeaten peasants by means of fables regarding the national aims of the imperialist war, therefore a man of science, an authority on Marxism, a representative of the Second International, has a right to reconcile the masses with this bamboozling by means of a ’formula’ to the effect that the ruling classes have imperialist tendencies, while the ’people’ and the proletarian masses have ’national’ tendencies.”[48] This is exactly the purpose of Hoxha’s “formula” that: “If an aggressive imperialist war cannot be prevented, then it is the task of the revolutionaries and the proletariat to turn it into a liberation war.”

The meaning given by the PLA to this “formula” can be seen all over the world by its parties promoting the proletariat as the truly “patriotic” class, that the monopolies have abandoned the struggle for “national independence” and the proletariat has to struggle to preseve the “nation.” The PLA uses the “sugary chauvinism of Kautsky...in sanctifying the shifting of the socialists of all countries to the side of ’their’ capitalists, uses the following arguments: Everybody has a right and a duty to defend his fatherland,”[48] and turn the war into a “liberation war.”[49]

It has been necessary to quote Lenin at some length on these questions because Hoxha and the PLA consciously distort what Lenin said to justify their own pacifist centrist politics. This can be seen clearly when Hoxha says “Lenin taught the communist revolutionaries that their duty is to smash the warmongering plans of imperialism and prevent the outbreak of war. If they cannot achieve this, then they must mobilize the working class, the masses of the people to transform the imperialist war into a REVOLUTIONARY LIBERATION WAR.”[50] Hoxha abandons the struggle to postpone the war in order to prepare the civil war and takes up the pacifist struggle “to stay the hand of the imperialist warmongers”[51] creating the illusion that imperialist war is a matter of the “plans” of imperialism and not an inevitable result of the imperialist system, a result of the rivalry of the imperialists to redivide the world. If this fails Hoxha wants the communists to unite the proletariat with the bourgeoisie, included in “the masses of the people,” in a war to “defend the fatherland,” i.e., “a revolutionary liberation war.”

Lenin said “the division of the globe compels the capitalists to pass from peaceful expansion to armed struggle for the redivision of colonies and spheres of influence,”[52] but Hoxha would have us believe that “in our time” we can compel the imperialist to refrain from such wars. “Is not this,” as Lenin asked, “a philistine attempt at pursuading the financiers to relinquish imperialism?”[53] Hoxha tries to sound oh so “revolutionary” by saying “the only correct course is to raise the working class, the broad strata of the working people AND the PEOPLES in revolutionary actions to stay the hand of the imperialist warmongers in their own countries.”[54] Stalin exposed the empty character of reformist calls to “revolutionary action.”

Decisive in determining whether a given party is revolutionary or reformist are not “revolutionary actions” in themselves, but the political aims and objects for the sake of which the party undertakes and employs these actions. As is known, in 1906, after the first Duma was dispersed, the Russian Mensheviks proposed the organization of a “general strike” and even of an “armed uprising.” But that did not in the least prevent them from remaining Mensheviks, for why did they propose this at that time? Not, of course, to smash tsarism and to organize the complete victory of the revolution, but in order to “exert pressure on the tsarist government with the object of winning reforms, with the object of widening the ”constitution,“ with the object of securing the convocation of an “improved” Duma. “Revolutionary actions” for the purpose of rebreaking up the old order, for overthrowing the ruling class, is another thing – that is the revolutionary path, the path of the complete victory of the revolution. There is a fundamental difference here (“The National Question Once Again,” Stalin Works, Vol VII, p. 222).

“Revolutionary actions” to defend the imperialist fatherland are one thing. “Revolutionary actions” to overthrow the imperialist fatherland and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat are another thing. There is a fundamental difference here.

The “peace” that Hoxha wants to preserve through “revolutionary actions” is an imperialist “peace,” a peace which is but a temporary agreement between wars of conquest. The peace Hoxha wants to preserve is maintained by the imperialists precisely for the purpose of preparing for the next war. It is inadequate preparation, shifting power based on the law of uneven development and calculation to strike at the most advantageous moment that temporarily “stays” the hands of the imperialists. “Peaceful alliances,” said Lenin, “prepare ground for wars and in turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other, producing alternating forms of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle on one and the same basis of imperialist connections and relations within world economics and politics. But in order to pacify the workers and to reconcile them with the social-chauvinists who have deserted to the bourgeoisie, wise Kautsky separates one link of a single chain from the other, separates the present peaceful (and ultra-imperialist, nay ultra-ultra imperialist) alliance of all the Powers for the pacification of China (remember the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion) from the non peaceful conflict of tomorrow, which will prepare the ground for another ’peaceful’ general alliance of the partition of Turkey, on the day after tomorrow, etc., etc. Instead of showing the living connection between periods of imperialist peace and periods of imperialist war, Kautsky, presents the workers with a lifeless abstraction in order to reconcile them to their lifeless leaders”[55]

Hoxha’s formula of “staying the hand of the imperialists” is just such a lifeless abstraction that covers up how everything the imperialists are doing today is inevitably preparing the coming war. Hoxha denies that the politics of the imperialists today are leading directly to an imperialist war that will be a continuation of those “peaceful” politics by forceful means. Hoxha acknowledges the “danger” of war but characterizes the politics of the imperialists as maintaining the “status quo.” Hoxha tells us: “In all its strategic manoeuverings the United States of America is not aggravating its relations with the Soviet Union beyond a certain point and it is continuing the SALT negotiations with it, although Carter stated that it was going ahead with the production of neutron bombs. Despite this, between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, there is an obvious tendency towards maintaining the status quo.”[56] For Hoxha the SALT II negotiations only maintain the “status quo,” when in fact they did nothing to preserve the “status quo.” They were an agreement to increase armament on both sides. But even this proved to be a constraint on US imperialism in its frantic war preparations. Recent events are proving the bankruptcy of Hoxha’s ultra-imperialist ideas, it could hardly be said that the US “is not aggravating its relations with the Soviet Union beyond a certain point.” Russian’s invasion of Afghanistan and its deployment of 50,000 troops in the mid-east and the US’s Carter doctrine with its deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe and new forces in the mid-east is not for the purpose of maintaining the “status quo.” But for a Kautskyite like Hoxha imperialism is a “policy” to be preferred or rejected by finance capitalism. Hoxha’s task is to “stay the hand of the imperialists” by “forcing” them to maintain a policy for the “status quo” instead of a war for the redivision of the world, a redivision that could involve Albania.

Herein lies the essence of Hoxha and the PLA’s position: their small state preservation and bourgeois nationalist interests. For all of the PLA’s talk about the working class and the masses “staying the hand of imperialism,” not even the PLA can have much illusion about a peace movement stopping a war. Even the PLA must know it does not exist. The PLA knows there is a “danger” of war and the most important thing for them is to unite the small states in a struggle against the “superpowers.” Not a revolutionary struggle, but a struggle for “independence” from them. This is why Hoxha works to unite the Marxist-Leninists with “the peace-loving forces and countries”[57] and he raises “defence of the fatherland” as the task of the day in Europe where he wants “to encourage the revolutionary and PATRIOTIC forces of these countries to oppose US imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, which want to subjugate them economically, politically and military, to exploit them and deny them their NATIONAL identity, etc.”[58] The PLA made this all clear when it addressed itself to the other European states in relation to the Helsinki conference. The PLA said: “The governement of the People’s Republic of Albania holds that real security in Europe cannot be reached by means of conferences instigated and organized by the two superpowers. It WILL be achieved by the efforts of ALL the PEACELOVING European peoples and COUNTRIES. They must take the defense of their SUPREME NATIONAL interests into their own hands. The peoples of Europe will achieve REAL peace and security by strengthening their NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE and sovereignty, their independent development and the DEFENSE CAPACITY OF THEIR COUNTRIES. It is in the vital interest of all the European peoples to be opposed, to the AGGRESSIVE POLICY of the military blocs on our continent and in the regions adjacent to it, to struggle consistently, and through to the end for the liquidation of foreign troops from their own territories, to unite their efforts with the struggle for PEACE and SECURITY being waged by the other peoples of the world.”[59] The PLA is preaching, as Lenin characterized it, “the philistine Utopia of freedom for all small states in general under capitalism.”[60] The PLA is going to achieve this “utopia” at least in Europe by uniting the “peace-loving countries” who will achieve “real peace” by strengthening “national independence,” “sovereignty,” “independent development” and “defense capacity.” This is shameless capitulation to the bourgeoisie, total abandonment of the proletariat and the greatest of deceptions – that it is possible to have “real peace” without a series of revolutions.[61]

After conciliating with Chinese revisionism and social chauvinism for years, the PLA broke with them, in part, over the issue of war. China was disturbing the PLA’s “utopia” by advocating war in Europe and by openly allying with the US imperialism and the imperialists in Western Europe, promoting NATO and the ECC. Although the PLA correctly compared the Chinese social-chauvinism with that of the Second International, the PLA does not take up the Leninist criticism of social-chauvinism in the Second International. Instead the PLA, in the name of Lenin, takes up a Kautskyite centrist position. The Chinese uphold that war is inevitable, in order to justify their alliance with the western bloc. What the PLA poses in opposition to this is not civil war and proletarian revolution but pacifism. If that fails and there is a war, then “defence of the fatherland.” Hoxha says: “The main slogan of these parties which is also the slogan of Chinese policy, is that, in the present situation, the sole and fundamental task of the proletariat is to defend national independence, which is allegedly threatened only by Soviet social-imperialism. They are repeating, almost word by word, the slogans of the chiefs of the Second International who abandoned the cause of the revolution and replaced it with the thesis of defense of the capitalist homeland. Lenin exposed this false and anti-Marxist slogan, which does not serve the DEFENSE OF TRUE INDEPENDENCE but serves the instigation of inter-imperialist wars.”[62]

Then Hoxha gives a quote from Lenin about how every bourgeoisie becomes a participant in the plunder of an imperialist war but Hoxha turns this into an argument for the small bourgeoisies to maintain peace and “defense of true independence” by deliberately removing part of the paragraph that he quotes from Lenin.[63] The part of the quote expunged by Hoxha reads “I must argue, not from the point of view of ’my’ country (for that is the argument of a wretched stupid petty bourgeois nationalist who does not realize that he is a plaything in the hands of the imperialist bourgeoisie), but from the point of view of my share in the preparation, in the propaganda, and in the acceleration of the world proletarian revolution.”[64] Hoxha also fails to extend the quote one more sentence which reads “that is the ABC that Kautsky has ’forgotten’ ”[65] Hoxha has “forgotten” these tines from Lenin because when talking about “defense of TRUE independence” he uses “the argument of a wretched stupid, petty-bourgeois nationalist who does not realize that he is only a plaything in the hands of the imperialist bourgeoisie.” That Hoxha tries to ascribe these views to Lenin consciously distorting Lenin’s words demonstrates the desperate revisionist depths Hoxha has sunk to.

“In the Western countries,” Lenin said, “the national movement is a thing of the distant past. In England, France, Germany, etc., the ’fatherland’ is a dead letter, it has played its historical role, i.e., the national movement cannot yield here anything progressive, anything that will elevate new masses to a new economic and political life. History’s next step here is not transition from feudalism or from patriarchal savagery to national progress, to a cultured and politically free fatherland, but transition from a ’fatherland’ that has outlived its day, that is capitalistically overripe to socialism.”[66] The dream of Hoxha is “true independence,” a “transition from feudalism or from patriarchal savagery to national progress, to a cultured and politically free fatherland.” This may be Hoxha’s petty bourgeois aspirations for Albania and the aspirations of other petty bourgeois in Europe but to try to ascribe it to Leninism “in our time” is criminal.

It is on this nationalist basis that the PLA’s contradictions with China rest. The problem for the PLA in China’s (and its supporters) support for NATO and the EEC is that “they are assisting precisely those organisms which, in reality, have seriously violated the independence and sovereignty of their countries.”[67] There is no doubt Hoxha argues “from the point of view of ’my’ country.”

Hoxha wants to unite all those who see things “from the point of view of ’my’ country” in a grand struggle against the “superpowers,” not to overthrow them but to “stay” their hand in unleashing a war. For Hoxha the way to defeat imperialism lies in small states uniting in “defence of true independence” and to oppose the “superpowers” because they have “seriously violated the independence and sovereignty of their countries.” Hoxha, in “opposition” to the social-chauvinism of China, says that Chinese policy “advocates the alliance of the proletariat of the countries of Western Europe with the reactionary bourgeoisie of these countries.”[68] What Hoxha advocates instead is for the proletariat to ally with “progressive” bourgeoisie in “defense of true independence.” Hoxha says: “We stand for the unity of the world proletariat and all true anti-imperialist and progress-loving forces, who through their struggle, WILL smash the aggressive plans of the imperialist and social imperialist warmongers.”[69] Hoxha’s program is this: “the peoples of Europe will achieve real peace and security by strengthening their national independence and sovereignty, their independent development and defense capacity of their countries.”[70] But if all this social-pacifism should fail, then unite for a “liberation war” in “defence of the fatherland.” Such is the total and disgusting abandonment of Leninism to which the PLA has sunk.

The PLA is quite right in attacking the Chinese revisionists for having taken up the social-chauvinist positions of the Second International, but the PLA has taken up the social-pacifist and social-nationalist positions of Kautsky and the “center” in the name of Lenin!

Three Trends Internationally

In Lenin’s day the issue of the war divided the socialist movement and this issue has in one way or another continued a division among those who claim to be socialists. In the face of the coming war this division is becoming particularly pronounced. First there are the open social-chauvinists of the Socialist International, the Russian revisionists and their followers, and the Chinese revisionists and their followers. As Lenin said “these people are our class enemies. They have gone over to the bourgeoisie.”[71]

The second trend is the “centre” made up of the PLA and its followers, as well as an array of opportunists, Maoists, semi-trotskyites and apologists of Russian imperialism. “The ’centre’ ” wrote Lenin, is the realm of honeyed petty bourgeois phrases, of internationalism in words and cowardly opportunism and fawning on the social-chauvinists in deeds.”[72] There are different centrists who “fawn” on different social-chauvinists. The PLA for years tried to “fawn” on the Russian social-chauvinists and then the Chinese social-chauvinists. However for nationalist reasons “in our time” they claim to oppose both in words. Their deeds tell a different story. The PLA is part of a centrist trend that has emerged through opposition to Stalin, signing the Moscow declaration, etc. The CPC once took a more centrist stand, but now that its social-chauvinism is completely open “Gang of Four” Maoists are striking out on their own.

These centrists are more dangerous then the open social-chauvinists because their “honeyed petty bourgeois phrases” deceive revolutionaries and the proletariat end keep them away from the real positions of Leninism. Lenin said: “The Kautskyite ’centre’ is doing more harm to Marxism than the avowed social-chauvinism...to any internationalist, hostility towards neo-Kautskyism must remain the touchstone. Only he is a genuine internationalist who combats Kautskyism, and understands that even after its leaders pretended change of intention, the centre remains, on all fundamental issues, an ally of the chauvinists and the opportunists.”[73] Today we have the same neo-Kautskyism in the form of the PLA and “even after” the “pretended change of intention” of the “Gang of Four” Maoists, they remain united with the PLA in their betrayal of Leninism.

Opposing the social-chauvinists and the “centre” is an emerging trend of genuine Lefts. This trend, in the words of Lenin, “is characterized by its complete rupture with both social-chauvinism and ’centrism’... ”[74] This trend is just emerging after years of sabotage by the social-chauvinists and the “Centre.” But this trend is hampered by an incorrect understanding of centrism. There are many who think the PLA is making mistakes, that it is somehow literally centered between revisionism and Leninism. They need to understand what it means when Stalin says “Centrism must not be regarded as a spatial concept: the Rights, say sitting on oneside, the Lefts on the other, and the Centrists in between. Centrism is a political concept. Its ideology is one side of adaptation, of subordination of the interests of the proletariat to the interests of the petty-bourgeoisie, within one common party, this ideology is alien and abhorrent to Leninism.”[75] This is, of course, the objective of present day centrists who want to submerge the proletariat in their “International,” to have the international proletariat abandon proletarian revolution and take up pacifism and nationalism, to capitulate in face of the coming imperialist war. As before the genuine Lefts must aim their fire at the centrists and split from them.

Centrism is a phenomenon that was natural in the Second International of the period before the war. There were Rights (the majority), Lefts (without quotation marks), and Centrists, whose policy consisted in embellishing the opportunism of the Rights with Left phrases and subordinating the Lefts to the Rights.[76]

What, at that time, was the policy of the Lefts, of whom the Bolsheviks constituted the core? It was one of determinedly fighting the Centrists, of fighting for a split with the Rights (especially after the outbreak of the imperialist war) and of organizing a new revolutionary International consisting of genuine Left, genuinely proletarian elements... the Bolsheviks could not at that time but concentrate their fire on the Centrists, who were trying to subordinate the proletarian elements to the interests of the petty bourgeoisie... the Bolsheviks were obliged at that time to advocate the idea of a split.[78]

Bolshevism is the Only Way Forward

In the face of the coming imperialist war there is an alternative to social-chauvinism and the social-pacifism and social-nationalism of the centrists, the only alternative, the only way to escape the inferno of imperialist wars. As Lenin said: “The millions who are pondering over the causes of the recent war and of the approaching future war are more and more clearly realizing the grim and inexorable truth that it is impossible to escape imperialist war and the imperialist peace... which inevitably engenders imperialist war, that it is impossible to escape that inferno, except by a Bolshevik struggle and a Bolshevik revolution.”[77]

There are many social-chauvinists and centrists who call themselves “Marxist-Leninists,” but they do not adhere to the strategy and tactics of Bolshevism, they ignore Bolshevism as something not for “our time,” as something Russian, and in the name of Lenin advocate the very politics Lenin, Stalin and the Bolsheviks fought against. Lenin has pointed the path forward. “Bolshevism.. .has become world Bolshevism, has produced an idea, a theory, a program and tactics, which differ concretely from those of social-chauvinism and social-pacifism... Bolshevism has created the ideological and tactical foundations of a Third International, of a really proletarian and Communist International.”[78] A new International can only be really proletarian and Communist if its ideological and tactical foundations are the idea, theory, program and tactics of Bolshevism.

It is particularly urgent that all genuine communists, revolutionaries and advanced workers take up this task immediately because the internationalist forces are weak. We must use whatever remains of the imperialist “peace” to organize the internationalists and the proletariat to begin to prepare the conditions for turning the imperialist war into a civil war. Lenin said “that Bolshevism has indicated the right road of escape from the horrors of war and imperialism, that Bolshevism can serve as a model of tactics for all.”[79] It is time for all who really want to escape the horrors of war and imperialism to study and apply this model to implement these tactics. The first step is to break from the PLA and the other centrists in order to take up the cause of Bolshevism. In the words of Lenin, “if perish we must, let us perish in the struggle for our own cause, for the cause of the workers, for the Socialist revolution and not for the interests of the capitalists.”[80]

This article has concentrated on the Bolshevik line on imperialist war because this is the reality of the coming war. A great deal of confusion is created on the question of war by erroneous positions on World War II and the periods before it and after it. China calls Russia “fascist” and tries to use certain correct tactics in the struggle against fascism and applys them to a situation of imperialist war to justify their opportunism. The PLA does the same thing from a slightly different angle of treating both “superpowers” as if they were “fascist.” In response to this distortion of the CPC and the PLA, there are those who adopt an infantile semi-trotskyite position of claiming World War II in its entirety was an imperialist war and that the tactics of the Comintern and the Soviet Union in the United Front Against Fascism and War and in World War II laid the basis of the revisionism and opportunism of the CPC and the PLA. All of these views are profoundly erroneous and all of them are helping the imperialists to prepare the war and are a dead end for the proletariat. The Bolshevik Union will be presenting its views on this aspect of the war question in the near future. The Bolshevik Union will also be taking up the question of war in terms of the practical tasks of today and how it relates to the national and colonial questions, the trade unions, the woman question, etc., as well as a continuing analysis of how the present international situation is leading to an imperialist war.

March, 1980


[1] War and the Workers, International Publishers, 1940, p. 30.

[2] “Socialism and War,” in Collected Works of V.I. Lenin, 1930, Vol. 18, p. 224.

[3] War and the Workers, p. 6.

[4] “Socialism and War,” Collected Works, 1930, Vol. 18, p. 221.

[5] “The government and the bourgeoisie of every belligerent country are squandering millions of rubles on books and papers blaming the opponent, arousing in the people a furious hatred for the enemy, stopping before no lie whatever in order to picture themselves as the country that was unjustly attacked and is now ’defending’ itself. In reality, this is a war between two groups of predatory great powers, and it is fought for the division of colonies, for the enslavement of other nations, for advantages and privileges in the world market” (Lenin, “Appeal on the War” Collected Works 1930, Vol. 18, p. 211).

[6] For the beginnings of an explanation of how this occured see “The Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR and the Preservation of Capitalism in China,” Proletarian Revolution no. 12, and “The Great Conspiracy Against Stalin,” PR no. 19 supplement. Both of these will be reprinted in Lines of Demarcation, no. 15.

[7] “First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, Speech on War,” June 9,1917, Collected Works, Vol. 25.

[8] “Manifesto of the International Socialist Congress At Basle,” Lenin’s Collected Works, 1930, Vol. 18, appendices, p. 469.

[9] See Lines of Demarcation no. 13 for a detailed explanation of this.

[10] An explanation of this will appear in Lines of Demarcation, no. 15.

[11] Op. Cit.

[12] “The Revolutionary Army and the Revolutionary Government” (July 1905).

[13] “The Marxist Leninist Stand of the Party of Labour of Albania on the Problems of War and Peace” Albania Today, no. 2, 1979, p. 4.

[14] “Speech at a Meeting in the Polytechnical Museum” (August 23, 1918)

[15] Op. Cit.

[16] Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, Chapt. 6, International Publishers, 1952, p. 30.

[17] Ibid., p. 30.

[18] The Struggle Against Imperialist War and the Tasks of Communists, Resolution of the Sixth World Congress of the Communist International – 1928, Article II, p. 12.

[19] Ibid., Article 14 (b). p. 15.

[20] Albania Telegraphic Agency, March 31, 1977. Reprinted in In Light of the Ideas of the Seventh Congress of the PLA, Norman Bethune Institute, Toronto, p. 141.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “The Marxist-Leninist Stand of the PLA on the Problems of War and Peace,” op. cit, p. 6.

[23] “The International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart,” (October 1917), Collected Works, Vol. 13.

[24] “Conference of the Foreign Sections of the RSDLP, Pacifism and the Peace Slogan,” Collected Works (1930), Vol. 18, p. 149.

[25] “The Marxist-Leninist Stand of the PLA on the Problems of War and Peace,” op. cit., p. 7.

[26] Op. Cit. Article 6, p. 7.

[27] “Report to the Seventeenth Party Congress on the Work of the Central Committee of the CPSU(B)” January 26,1934, Section 2, “The Growing Tension in the Political Situation in the Capitalist Countries,” in Problems of Leninism, FLP, p. 683.

[28] Stalin said “Quite clearly thing are heading for a new war” (ibid. p. 680) and “things are heading towards a new imperialist war as a way out of the present situation” (ibid., p. 682)

[29] Ibid., p. 686.

[30] “Appeal on the War,” Collected Works (1930), Vol. 18, pp. 211-12.

[31] “Position and Tasks of the Socialist International,” November 1914, Collected Works (1930), Vol. 18, pp. 88-9.

[32] Ibid.

[33] “The Marxist-Leninist Stand of the PLA on the Problems of War and Peace”, op. cit., p. 7.

[34] Op. cit., Article 12(c), pp. 12-13.

[35] “Speech Delivered at an International Meeting in Berne” (February 8, 1916).

[36] Op. Cit., Article 11, p. 12.

[37] Ibid., Article 6, p. 8.

[38] Ibid., Article 8, p. 10.

[39] “The Marxist-Leninist Stand...,” op. cit., p. 7.

[40] Op. Cit., Article 13(b), p. 14.

[41] “The War and Russian Social-Democracy,” (Nov. 1914) Collected Works (1930), Vol. 18, p. 80.

[42] Foundations of Leninism, FLP., Theory, Chapter III, section 3), pp. 26-27.

[43] Report to Seventh Congress of the PLA, p. 191. quoted in “The Marxist-Leninist Stand...” op. cit. p. 7.

[44] “The Proletariat and the War,” October 14, 1914, Collected works (1930), Vol. 18, p. 71.

[45] “The Collapse of the Second International,” Section VI, Collected works (1930), Vol. 18, p. 298.

[46] “Reports on the Subject ’The Proletariat and the War’ ” (October, 1914), Collected Works, Vol. 36.

[47] “The Collapse of the Second International” op. cit.

[48] Ibid., p. 299.

[49] Ibid., Section III, p. 284.

[50] Imperialism and the Revolution, Tirana, p. 372.

[51] Ibid., p. 371.

[52] “The Collapse of the Second International,” op. cit., section IV, p. 290.

[53] Ibid, section V, p. 294.

[54] Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 372.

[55] “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 295.

[56] Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 28.

[57] Ibid., p. 371.

[58] Ibid., p. 287.

[59] Albania Today, no 6, 1972, p. 49.

[60] “The Peace Question,” (August 1915), Collected Works, (1930), Vol. 18, p. 267.

[61] “Instead of leaving it to hypocritical phrasemongers to deceive the people by phrases and promises concerning a possible democratic peace, the socialists must explain to the masses the impossibility of a more or less democratic peace outside a number of revolutions and revolutionary struggle in every country against their governments.” (Ibid., pp. 267-8.)

[62] Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 247.

[63] Ibid., p. 248. The quote Hoxha gives reads “If war is a reactionary imperialist war, that is, if it is being waged by two world coalitions of the imperialist, violent, predatory, reactionary bourgeoisie then every bourgeoisie (even of the smallest country) becomes a participant in the plunder, and my duty as a representative of the revolutioanry proletariat is to prepare for the world proletarian revolution as the only escape from the horrors of a world slaughter...That is what internationalism means and that is the duty of the internationalist, the revolutionary worker, the genuine socialist.”

[64] “Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky,” Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 287, from the chapter entitled “What is Internationalism?”

[65] Ibid.

[66] “A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism,” Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 89.

[67] Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 249.

[68] Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 288.

[69] Report to the Seventh Congress of the PLA, quoted in ATA, March 31, 1977, op. cit., p. 139.

[70] Albania Today no 6, 1972, p. 49.

[71] “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution,” Selected Works (1943), Vol. 10. p. 4

[72] Ibid., p. 5.

[73] “Socialism and War” Collected works, Vol. 21, p. 327.

[74] “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution,” op. cit., p. 6.

[75] “Industrialization in the Country and the Right Deviation in the CPSU(B),” Stalin’s Works, Vol. II, p. 293.

[76] Ibid., pp. 293-94.

[77] “The Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution,” (October 14, 1921), LCW 33:56.

[78] The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, FLP, p. 87.

[79] Ibid., p. 88.

[80] “Appeal on the War,” op. cit., p. 213.