After years of fascism, which was presented as a solution to the crisis; after a world war with its millions of victims and its ravaged Europe; after dozens of military “adventures” on the part of imperialism in the four corners of the world – supposedly to guarantee progress through capitalist freedom and democracy; after declarations that the world had entered a new electronic and space age and that no dream would go unfulfilled; after all that, the entire capitalist world is in a crisis situation, as serious as that 45 years ago.
Famine is the daily lot of millions of individuals, and tons of food are thrown out – tons of Canadian milk, for example. Arable land is left fallow and farmers are asked to produce less, less beef, less butter, less cereal... depending on the risks of the market, that is depending on the effects of the anarchy of capitalist production.
Armed repression, the absence of all democratic rights, the oppression of women, the negation of national rights, fascism, military regimes – these are situations which millions of people experience day after day.
Unemployment, welfare, the spiralling rise in the cost of living, inflation and the devaluation of currency are problems faced by most advanced societies in the world, including the United States.
Wars, political instability, growing rivalries, and the threat of another world war mark the relationships between countries.
Is this the social system we must save at all costs because there is nothing better?
The real question is: could anything be worse? The situation today is comparable to the 1930’s – indeed, it’s already a lot worse if you consider that poverty is increasing at the same time as wealth and the capacity to produce more goods increase.
Given this situation, it should come as no surprise that the masses, in particular the youth of the capitalist and revisionist countries, are subject to more and more ideological confusion and despair. It should come as no surprise that in some of the most developed countries, like the U.S.A., different promises of Utopia are making a comeback and various attempts are being made to build “new societies” outside of society.
It should come as no surprise that religion is regaining popularity and finding new followers, often among marginal populations, those whom the “society of abundance” has reduced to begging and idleness.
Of course not. The ideological confusion and despair of the most oppressed sectors of the working people and youth illustrates the bankruptcy of the system we live in. It indicates the depth of the crisis which this system is going through.
The First World War (1914-18) and the 1917 October Revolution in Russia ushered in for the whole world the “era of imperialism and proletarian revolution”, as Lenin put it. Since then, the development of the international situation has been ruled by a constant and bitter struggle between the camp of decaying capitalism, imperialism, and their reactionary forces, and that of proletarian revolution, progress, democracy, and socialism.
The October Revolution initiated the consistent and organized struggle of the proletariat to put a definitive end to capitalist exploitation and overthrow the rotten and decadent system. It was a catalyst for immense enthusiasm among the peoples of the world.
The Communist International, known as the Comintern, was created in 1919 and grew quickly. The communists in many countries regrouped to form new parties which relied on both Marxism and the political and organizational lessons of the revolutionary struggle of the Bolshevik Party and its historic victory. Marxism-Leninism was born; in the era of imperialism, it is the only theory capable of guiding the struggle of the proletariat and of oppressed peoples and nations towards liberation and socialism.
The successes of the Soviet Union in building socialism and the growing influence of the Comintern and different communist parties soon began to sow panic among capitalists and reactionary forces. The October Revolution had proved that if the proletariat was guided by its vanguard party, it could topple the bourgeoisie and reactionary forces from power.
Their worry grew when it became obvious that “The Great War”, as it was called, had solved nothing. With the 1920’s, another major capitalist crisis loomed on the horizon. The imperialist powers which had taken part in the First World War, winners and losers alike, still nursed the same ambitions of establishing their domination over larger and larger areas of the world.
The conditions for the development of fascism were ripe. The conservative, nationalist, and reactionary ideas which had begun to flourish in Europe towards the end of the 19th century, fed by the competition between opposing capitalist countries, between rival nations, now found a fertile ground to develop and shrewd demagogues to help spread them.
The First World War did more than just leave the problems of the capitalist economy in the same acute state: it also seriously shook up the colonial system from which capitalism draws some of its lifeblood. In many colonial and semi-colonial countries, the revolt of the masses was smouldering and the aspiration for liberation growing. China and India are but two examples. This of course increased the contradictions facing the imperialist countries.
The 1929 Crash marked the greatest economic crisis of capitalism. Ten years later, the Second World War broke out. Once again inter-imperialist rivalries had reached such a point that the contenders saw no alternative but armed conflict to settle their differences. But this new world war had a specific characteristic: the rise of the Axis powers, a bloc of fascist countries made up of Germany, Italy and Japan, which achieved lightning victories all over Europe and in the colonies of Asia and Africa.
When Nazi Germany finally attacked the Soviet Union directly, it became obvious that this war was not only a confrontation between great imperialist powers for a new division of the non-socialist world; it was, above all, a war against the peoples whose purpose was to bring the peoples of Europe and the colonies under the yoke of the most violent and savage domination, in the interests of an imperialist bourgeoisie thirsty for power and armed with a treacherous and extremely reactionary ideology. It also became a war to eliminate progressive forces, to put socialist revolution in check, subdue the Soviet Union, and thus put an end to the victories of socialism.
In this context, a broad anti-fascist movement developed world-wide. In China, the peasant and proletarian masses under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) were already fighting alongside the national bourgeoisie against Japanese imperialism. In the countries of Europe which were the most threatened, the proletariat entered united fronts with the bourgeoisie or factions of it which were opposed to fascist Germany’s domination. The communists who had denounced the fascist threat in the 1920’s were now to be found on the front lines of the resistance in most countries. It was, according to the Comintern, no longer only a question of defending democracy against fascism. It was a question of saving the U.S.S.R., the bulwark of proletarian revolution.
The Second World War didn’t resolve the contradictions of imperialism anymore than the First World War had. In fact, the world today is rife with the same fundamental contradictions that characterized it after the Great War of 1914-18. The new big powers are nursing the same ambitions as their forerunners, and they are in constant conflict with each other as they manoeuvre to extend their activities to all corners of the globe. To one degree or another, the peoples of the world are subject to their control; and their power is entrenched through methods ranging frem the corruption of existing regimes to the use of armed force.
The world has nonetheless undergone immense upheaval in the last thirty-five years. New powers like the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. have emerged, and former great powers like Great Britain, France, and Germany have been dislodged. Many colonies have acquired political independence and most of them have taken up the job of developing their economies. However, these economies are to a large extent dependent on imperialist capital investments which take advantage of their situations.
Decolonization which was so talked about in the 1950’s and 1960’s has been stopped in midstream. In fact, the peoples under the thumb of imperialism are yet to be liberated.
Anger is growing everywhere, and in underdeveloped countries, regimes on the payroll of imperialism often need military fascist dictatorships to stay in power.
The situation in imperialist countries is similar. As inter-imperialist contention heats up and the crisis of capitalism deepens, the living conditions of working people are deteriorating everywhere. Everywhere, there is an upsurge in the resistance of the masses. Once again, the bourgeoisie is using the type of repression common in the 1920’s and 1930’s. There are more and more anti-working class measures and attacks against unions and democratic rights. Anti-communist and fascist ideas are making a comeback.
The situation today resembles in many ways the prewar situation in the 1930’s. The danger of a new worldwide holocaust is growing day by day, with billions of dollars of weapons now stockpiled around the world. History has demonstrated that the only way Capital at its highest stage can cope with these contradictions is through imperialist war, attacks and counter-attacks among rival imperialists and popular repression – including the violent dictatorship of fascism. It is the only way to maintain the reign of Capital and the law of profit.
As long as imperialism exists, the only way for the people of the world to do away with exploitation and oppression will be through proletarian revolution. The serious setbacks the camp of revolution has suffered since the 1950’s have led some to doubt the justice of the fight for socialism and communism. The regular, cyclical crises of capitalism, continual wars and the growing gulf between the rich and the poor are all reminders that capitalism is doomed to disappear. Illusions about gradually transforming it have been debunked by the history of the last fifty years.
The working class must assume its historic mission. It is the only thoroughly revolutionary class and it is up to it to take the leadership of the struggle against imperialism and lead this fight to victory – to the abolition of class society and the complete elimination of the exploitation of man by man.
Since the turn of the century, relations between countries have been ruled by the ceaseless struggle between imperialist powers for the control of ever-greater and richer areas of the world. History has shown that the agreements, pacts, treaties, and alliances between these powers have always been governed by their imperialist interests. These agreements never interrupted the death-struggle between great powers, and they have certainly not prevented the world from having to endure a situation of permanent war since the First World War.
The imperialists, however, have always known how to unite when their interests require it, in particular when the revolutionary wind is blowing and threatening their existence in one part or another of the world. The camp of U.S. imperialism, which was created in the context of the Second World War and its aftermath, provides an excellent example of all the means used by the imperialists to develop their power.
Both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. participated in the Allied victory over the Axis countries in 1945. This victory has long been presented as the decisive victory for democracy over reaction and especially fascism. 1945 was a great victory for the peoples of Europe and the Soviet Union over Hitlerite fascism, over the most violent and the most reactionary form of dictatorship ever to be exercised by the bourgeoisie of industrialized countries. 1945 was also the year Japanese imperialism was defeated in Asia, notably in China.
Even though many peoples of the world gave their lives in this war, and even though everywhere communists were in the frontlines of the fight, when looked at in retrospect it is clear that U.S. imperialism won the most in 1945. The United States quickly grabbed the fruits of the bitter struggle that had been waged by the Soviet and European peoples to use them for its own benefit as an hegemonic power, even though it had played a minor role in the defeat of the fascist powers.
The U.S. set about giving itself an image as the liberator of the peoples of the world and the champion of democracy. There is no doubt that this demagogy has served U.S. imperialist interests very well.
Even before the end of the Second World War, the imperialists, led by the U.S., had already begun to direct their main attack against communists, who were still devoting all their energies to the struggle against the fascist foe. The immediate goals of the imperialists were to isolate the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, prevent a victory for socialism in other countries and push communists back wherever possible. Once again communism was the main enemy in China, Albania, Greece and Yugoslavia and in all countries where communists had played an important part in the anti-fascist Resistance.
They did in fact succeed in preventing the reunification of Germany and to the advantage of the German Federal Republic (West Germany), which they controlled. They butchered the communists and the people in Greece, with the help of the most reactionary local forces. They chased the communists out of the French government and succeeded in splitting Yugoslavia from the socialist camp. But in China, Albania, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, they failed. The communists of those countries were able to see through the manoeuvres designed to sabotage the struggle for socialism that lay behind the imperialists’ offers of collaboration.
The Cold War was on. The imperialists, especially the U.S., spent the 1950’s doing their best to create the greatest possible difficulties for the socialist camp. They waged the greatest propaganda campaign the world had ever seen in order to make the socialist countries out to be lands of repression, misery and perpetual and systematic violence against the peoples... while only five years earlier, the prestigious Life magazine had presented Stalin as a great statesman who had done a lot for his country.
The Cold War and its spearhead, McCarthyism, were soon toned down. It had become obvious by the end of the 1950’s that communism had ceased to be an immediate threat, at least in Europe or America. The most dangerous revolutionary storms were now developing in the colonies and underdeveloped countries. The war had ruined the former colonies and underdeveloped countries. The war had ruined the former colonial powers of Europe and Great Britain. National liberation movements were growing like mushrooms in regions that had been ruled by these former powers, like black Africa, North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. After the total liberation of China in 1949, dozens of former colonies or semi-colonies conquered their political independence.
In all these situations, the U.S. manoeuvred skilfully. First, they found a fantastic outlet for their goods and capital in the reconstruction of Western Europe, where they presented themselves as champions of anti-communism, ready to back up local bourgeoisies in all matters, including, of course, military matters.
Subsequently, they found another vast market in a great number of former colonies where they showed up and played upon the fact that they had helped defeat fascism in Asia, North Africa and Europe; that they had never had colonies, and that, in fact, they had had to conquer their own independence from Great Britain, a colonial power, in 1776!
For more than 20 years, the U.S. managed to spread their tentacles throughout the world, consolidating their hold on Latin America and extending it in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa. Their main weapon was capital, “aid” for the development of the former colonies; but the military advisers and the aircraft carriers were never far behind the bankers, because the independence of underdeveloped countries must never help the development of the socialist camp. In fact, imperialism continued to fight socialism energetically wherever it seemed to be a threat. There were innumerable U.S. military interventions during that period in every region of the world, starting with Greece in the 1940’s and then Korea in 1950...
The American saga continued in various forms, some more or less covert depending on conditions. In 1953, the Iranian people found themselves “liberated” from Mossadegh in favour of Pahlavi, the “democrat”. In 1954, it was Arbenz who was overthrown in Guatemala. In 1960, Lumumba in the former Belgian Congo was ousted. In 1962, it was the Bay of Pigs attack against Castro. In 1964, Goulart was overthrown in Brazil. The saga continued with Santo Domingo, Vietnam and Cambodia... and Allende in Chile in 1973.
We could go on listing American interventions in underdeveloped countries; we could also add those of France, Great Britain and the other imperialist powers, including Canada, all of which have done their utmost to protect “democracy” and “progress” in the world for the past thirty years. Today, these same powers are still coming to the “rescue” of the Arab and Jewish peoples, and the peoples of southern Africa. They are stepping up their calls for the respect of democratic rights and worldwide disarmament! However, they sell billions of dollars worth of arms to Israel, Egypt and South Africa. Defending human rights imposes certain obligations...
Isn’t that enough to show that imperialist propaganda about the defence of peace, democracy and progress is simply an enormous hoax designed to cover up the hegemonistic endeavors of these powers, which now include the U.S.S.R. Indeed, for more than ten years now, this power has been applying the same policies, except that instead of hiding behind its “democratic” victories it hides behind its history as a socialist country up until the 1950’s. Indeed, the U.S.S.R. has no reason to envy the United States when it comes to the oppression of the peoples it has established its control over.
At the end of the Second World War, the proletariat and the peoples of the world looked to the U.S.S.R. for inspiration. Not only had the Soviet Union won great victories in socialist construction; it had also played an essential role in the defeat of fascism and Hitlerite Nazism and in the liberation of many European countries and the Chinese people. With the Eastern European countries, and China after 1949, it formed a camp of socialist countries; and with the international working class and oppressed peoples and nations, it formed the camp of proletarian revolution, the sworn enemy of imperialism, whose main force on a world scale was the United States.
Things started to change in the 1950’s. After Stalin’s death in 1953 and more particularly with the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956, which was dominated by Khrushchev’s clique, the Soviet Party rapidly degenerated into a revisionist party, and the U.S.S.R. came to be ruled by a new exploiting class which had seized full control of State power to transform the country’s economy into a capitalist economy, dominated by the laws of profit.
During the 1960’s, the U.S.S.R. forced all its allies to organize their economy around its own needs, threatening to deprive them of all economic, technical and military aid if they didn’t comply with its demands. It had absolutely no compunction about cutting off all aid to Albania and China, and recalling its advisers from these two countries when they refused to give in to this ignominious blackmail.
By the end of the 1960’s, the U.S.S.R. had become an imperialist power like the U.S. A capitalist economy had been completely restored, an economy based to a large extent on the exploitation of foreign countries through COMECON and the many other treaties used by the U.S.S.R. to appropriate the wealth of others. So the Eastern European countries export mostly to the U.S.S.R., which buys what they export at ridiculously low prices while selling essential goods – for example, oil – to these same countries at a cost sometimes double their value on the world market.
The other countries that the U.S.S.R. “helps” in this way are also forced to send their exports to the U.S.S.R. For example, between 1976 and 1980, India must send 40% of its exports to the U.S.S.R. because of previous contracts and treaties.
The U.S.S.R.’s imperialist activities are still expanding. There are apparently no bounds to its ambitions. An illustration of this is the fabulous amount of money it spends on military equipment. Although its immense military industry helps reduce certain effects of the economic crisis that the U.S.S.R., like the other imperialist countries, is experiencing, its most striking feature is the enormous burden it represents for the working people.
Soviet society today is experiencing the suffering and repression which inevitably accompanies a crisis of Capital. Over the years, agriculture in that country has stagnated while the funds needed to transform such a situation are ploughed into weaponry. More than 6 million people are unemployed. Managers and administrators put the squeeze on workers to increase productivity by prolonging the hours of work and imposing work speed-ups. Profit is now in command everywhere. The growing revolt of the Soviet masses meets greater and greater repression. But the number of working-class struggles is growing, and sometimes the army must be brought in to overcome them.
As in all imperialist countries, democratic rights are continually eaten away at in the U.S.S.R. The State has taken up the task of the “Russianization” of Soviet society, although the Russian nation represents only 50% of the total population. It wants to force the assimilation of the national minorities as rapidly as possible by making the Russian language compulsory for everyone and displacing large sectors of the population to break up homogeneous concentrations of minorities. It constantly violates freedom of speech, and the “psychiatric hospitals” are overcrowded.
To continue calling the U.S.S.R. a “socialist country”, as the revisionists do, or a “workers’ State”, as their friends the Trotskyists do, is pure and simple demagogy, mystification that can only result in driving workers away from the struggle for socialism. The U.S.S.R. is not a socialist country. It is a social-fascist and social-imperialist country, that is a country which claims to be socialist but which practices a fascist and imperialist policy towards the Soviet people and the other peoples it dominates throughout the world. It is a country fully engaged in the struggle for world hegemony.
The U.S.S.R. is today active in all the regions of the world and tries by all means to ensure a greater share in the exploitation of poor countries for itself, to the detriment of the other imperialist powers, especially the United States. The U.S.S.R.’s ambitions, like those of all the great powers in history, are limitless; they affect Latin America and Europe as well as Africa and Asia.
In the same way that the U.S. took advantage of its overblown reputation as a champion of the anti-fascist struggle and the struggle for democracy, peace and progress in the post-war period, the U.S.S.R. today falsely presents itself in the underdeveloped countries as the homeland of peace, progress and socialism.
Just in the last few years, the U.S.S.R. has been at work in many African countries, including Angola and Ethiopia, where it didn’t hesitate to use the armed forces of allied countries like Cuba and East Germany in addition to sending substantial quantities of military equipment. Soviet imperialism also has fairly close links with the Congo, Mozambique and other countries of central and southern Africa. Although the U.S., together with France, Belgium and West Germany, still dominates most of Africa, the U.S.S.R. has nevertheless achieved important breakthroughs on that continent and is still making headway.
The confrontations between the two superpowers in >the Middle East grow sharper from month to month. The region’s economic and strategic importance is well known. Even if all the official actions of the two countries are hidden behind a pretense of concern for the future of either the Palestinian people or the people of Israel, the fact remains that what is really at stake is the Arab world and its oil, and the military control of the eastern part of the Mediterranean, which borders southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa.
Iran is just as strategically located just south of the U.S.S.R., between it and the Indian Ocean, which the imperialist powers fight over fiercely as well. Recently, in the same region, the Soviet Union succeeded in strengthening its domination over the present regime in South Yemen and managed to establish a friendly government in Afghanistan. It has thus scored several victories in this part of the world where inter-imperialist rivalries have been escalating constantly, as in India and Pakistan.
Soviet ambitions in Southeast Asia are also well-known. Vietnam’s joining of COMECON in the fall of 1978 constitutes an important victory for the U.S.S.R. in this area. Tensions in the region, where the U.S. still has the upper hand – in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore – will develop even more as China starts to intervene more. China has quite clearly decided to take an active part in the imperialist manoeuvring which undeniably underlies the confrontations currently happening in the region.
There is no longer the slightest doubt that the most important inter-imperialist rivalries at the present time are those between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. The United States and the bloc of Western countries allied to it (in more ways than one) – Western Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Japan – is the more powerful force at the present time. However, the U.S.S.R. and the countries of Eastern Europe constitute a rival whose economic and military power is constantly growing.
There is practically no conflict in any region of the world, especially in Africa, the Middle East and in Southeast Asia, where the two blocs don’t confront one another in some way.
The international situation is in constant change. Things are continually taking place which could transform the present balance of power considerably. That includes recent developments in China.
After years of internal conflict during which the socialist path of building socialism successfully countered the capitalist path, China has finally fallen under the leadership of out-and-out capitalist roaders. Initially hiding their criminal intentions under the banner of “Mao Zedong Thought”, Deng, Hua and Co. are clearly continuing the policies of Liu Shaoqi (a man quite sympathetic to Khrushchev’s U.S.S.R.). They have undertaken the task of trying to boost China up to the rank of great power. The economic and social cost of such an adventure, which will be borne by the Chinese people, is of little concern to them.
Like any big country with hegemonistic ambitions, China has embarked on the path of industrial development, arms buildup, and developing its links with foreign countries including the less developed ones which it is trying to dominate. There has been a rapid growth in the number of treaties and trade agreements between China and other countries. Chinese economic, trade and diplomatic delegations are moving around the world at an astounding rate. The Chinese military is doing its utmost to obtain modern military hardware in the advanced countries. Growing trade concessions open the door to foreign investment, to monopoly capital.
Some are surprised to see China denounced as an “imperialist power” when not so very long ago it was generally considered an underdeveloped country. But this apparent contradiction is quickly cleared up. While it is true that China’s industrialization is very backward in many respects in relation to many other countries, it is also true that the new leaders of this country have set the objective of catching up very quickly by using all possible means, including a growing and constant rapprochement with the U.S.A., which is, at least in theory, one of the superpowers of the “first world”. 
Relations between China and other countries are defined and put into practice on the sole basis of China’s national interests, without any practical consideration for the development of the proletarian revolution throughout the world.
China was hoping to force socialist Albania to take up its counter-revolutionary and chauvinist international policies, especially in the Balkans, where its first aim is to establish closer ties with Yugoslavia and Romania in order to weaken Soviet influence in this strategic region. Faced with Albania’s refusal to give up the struggle against revisionism and to rely on one imperialism to fight another, China unilaterally and brusquely cut off its mutual aid programmes with Albania and abandoned projects it had promised to complete.
Chinese policy in Indochina is similar. With Vietnam moving closer to the U.S.S.R., China was faced with a major obstacle in extending its influence in Southeast Asia. China then undertook a major campaign to discredit Vietnam. It added fat to the fire in the Cambodia-Vietnam quarrel, and then wanted to dictate its line to Vietnam on the question of the Hoa who have lived in Vietnam for generations and should not be subjected in any way to the government of another country.
In the same vein, China has undertaken a campaign in all countries of the region to strengthen its links with them and keep them out of the Soviet sphere. It has no hesitation about establishing the closest relations with the most reactionary regimes installed by the U.S. In Southeast Asia, in Iran, in Zaire, and elsewhere, China’s policy is totally divorced from the interests of the masses and the interests of the proletarian revolution.
Finally, China is now notorious in some “second world” countries for its use of so-called Marxist- Leninist organizations – who, incidentally, are the same kind of “communists” as the parties that support the U.S.S.R. in all its adventures – in establishing links with the monopoly bourgeoisies of these countries. Thus, in the fall of 1978, it was with the help of the Canada-China Friendship Society, where the so-called Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) exerts a strong influence, that a delegation of some of the biggest financiers and industrialists in Canada were invited to China... Shortly thereafter, a major Canadian bank reported on the event in its monthly bulletin, and used it to present the “three worlds theory” and urge its readers to profit from it! 
When any country, irrespective of its past and its economic development, adopts a policy essentially aimed at serving its national interests; and when, to this end, it has no hesitation about resorting to pressure tactics and reprisals against countries which might hamper it in attaining its objectives, then such a country is not practising a proletarian internationalist policy; it is practising a bourgeois chauvinist and hegemonistic policy.
In the meantime, China is demonstrating the unqualified and firm intention to link its future with that of the camp of Western imperialism. The diplomatic recognition that the U.S. has just granted it is significant in this respect. The U.S.S.R. realizes very clearly that China’s present action could cause it some difficulties and be of help to its U.S. rival. This was already clear in the fall of 1978, when China signed a treaty with Japan. Japan is also a very active imperialist power in Southeast Asia; furthermore, it maintains very close links with the U.S.  
But it has been shown several times since the beginning of this century that agreements and treaties between rival hegemonic powers only last as long as they share common interests more important than their fundamental rivalry. In this respect, we can already see signs of an eventual erosion of the Western bloc dominated by the United States. For the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. are not the only imperialist countries in the race for hegemony. The rise of West Germany and Japan is becoming more and more significant.
The economies of these two countries have surged ahead more than any others in recent years. West Germany has been able to carve out a predominant place for itself in the Common Market while expanding trade and investments throughout the world. West Germany’s production accounts for 32.2% of the entire production of the European Economic Community (EEC), or as much as that of Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands combined. The arms industry employs 200,000 people, and there are over 500,000 men in the standing army – which, by the way, regularly comes to Canada for advanced training. There are also 148 ultra-right-wing and neo-Nazi parties and organizations in West Germany.
Bolstered by its recent success and wishing to break away from U.S. domination, West Germany was behind the creation of the European Monetary Fund (EMF). It will back up the creation of a new currency, the ECU (European Currency Unit), enabling Europe to compete with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the U.S. dollar.
Japan is in a very favourable economic situation, compared to the U.S. and most Western countries. It maintains close economic links with other imperialist countries, and the treaty that it has just signed with China will undoubtedly favour its development still further. So far, Japan has concentrated its imperialist activities in Southeast Asia, in collaboration with the U.S. and now with China. Japan is the main economic partner of many countries in the region in terms of both trade and investments, with the U.S. coming second.
U.S. imperialism lost its uncontested hegemony over almost all of the non-socialist countries in the 1960’s. As in the period preceding the Second World War, a certain number of great powers, with the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. first in line but also including West Germany, France, Japan and other medium-sized powers like Canada, battled for their share of the world. Inter-imperialist rivalries are again growing sharper. Major difficulties stand in the way of the development of capital. The economy is at a standstill in several countries and the arms race has started a new sprint. This makes world peace very precarious. It is already threatened by various hotspots throughout the world which often involve countries that are actors in a play which is beyond them and that they do not master. This is a bit what is happening in the Middle East and Indochina, where war or the threat of war between “small powers” is in fact the expression of rivalries amongst “big powers”.
Nevertheless, it is not the imperialist powers that will ultimately determine the future of humanity. This role belongs to the peoples of the world who, in varying degrees, are struggling everywhere for their emancipation. It belongs even more to the revolutionary proletariat, which alone can lead the struggle away from the dead-ends into which the imperialists and their agents, the reactionary classes of the dominated countries, regularly lead it.
Inter-imperialist rivalries continue to sharpen as a consequence of the growing penetration of monopoly capital in all areas of the non-socialist world. There are but two paths open to the peoples of the world. One path means submission to one or another great power and participating in their rivalries and wars. The other road is the path of proletarian revolution, revolution led by the proletariat, with or without a democratic stage prior to the full establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
This is not in any way just an abstract theoretical conclusion. It is based on an examination of the evolution of the newly-independent countries that since the Second World War have claimed to be on an “original” path of development, a path which some people call “non-alignment”.
Decolonization has certainly been one of the major features of the first 20 years following the 1939-45 war. Many parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East which had up to then been under French, Belgian, British or other colonial administrations won their independence. The wars in Korea, Algeria, Vietnam and many other countries were the sign of the times in this vast wave of popular liberation struggles that enjoyed almost universal sympathy. The victory of Castro over Batista in Cuba even led some people to think that this movement was going to extend to Latin America too. This region differed from the others on the road to liberation in that it was still under the thumb of U.S. imperialism. The opposite happened: the United States didn’t lose any ground in Latin America – except in Cuba. The Americans gained ground in all the former colonies at the expense of the previously reigning European and British powers.
Decolonization did not lead to liberation. The economies of the newly independent countries have remained largely dependent upon capital and technology from the imperialist countries. In the best cases the local bourgeoisies have been able to develop to the point where they were playing some kind of role in the country’s economy. In others, the regimes in power are scarcely distinguishable from the colonial administrators that preceded them.
It should be said that the post-war decolonization movement took place during a tragic period for the working-class and progressive movements. On the one hand, the American imperialists were in peak expansion, scurrying around the world with bagsful of millions of dollars ready to “help” those who wanted it. They were just as ready to send their armed forces anywhere around the globe to fight the “communist menace” – that is, all those who were less than 100% pro-American – that was threatening “democracy” (read American hegemony).
On the other hand, the communist movement was in the midst of the greatest split in its history. The Comintern was dissolved in 1943; the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, (CPSU) still the beacon light for the proletariat and the oppressed peoples, definitively abandoned the path of revolution at its 1956 Congress. Nationalism and chauvinism won out over Marxism-Leninism in many formerly communist parties. This process was so widespread and thorough that many of these parties found themselves after the war on the side of the colonial metropolises instead of the decolonization movement. Before the days when it got all excited about the U.S.S.R’s military incursions into Eastern Europe, the French Communist Party didn’t blink an eyelash in shouting “Long live a French Algeria”... in harmony with its “own” bourgeoisie.
It is scarcely surprising that in such a context the capitalist forces triumphed over the genuine liberation and socialist forces. Lots of liberation movements fixed their goal as the complete ousting of imperialism from their country. But they found, after achieving political independence, that they were not blessed with a strong socialist camp capable of providing the necessary support for reviving their economies and building their countries on an autonomous basis. Rather they were confronted with a bloc of powerful countries, including the Soviet Union, which had but one desire: to profit from their weakness, to seize their resources and exploit their labour force.
While all these vultures were cawing their deceitful rhetoric to the skies, the forces which remained faithful to Marxism-Leninism and which continued to wage the combat for socialism, including Albania and China, failed to make their viewpoint win out. The material support that they were capable of giving was laughable beside the millions of dollars that imperialism and social imperialism were able to flash in people’s faces. Capitalist ideology triumphed in most of the ex-colonial countries. Little by little, the viewpoint that the underdeveloped countries must take an “original path”, neither capitalist nor socialist, won growing numbers of disciples.
It is within this framework that the “non-aligned” movement was started up in the early 1960’s by leaders who were more nationalist than socialist, such as Tito in Yugoslavia and Nasser in Egypt; from the beginning this involved more than 20 countries. The “non-aligned” movement came into being in the wake of several other coalitions of Asian and African countries formed after the Bandung Conference of 1956. And it was to be followed by a large number of conferences and different organizations all dedicated to safeguarding the interests of the underdeveloped countries against domination by the imperialist powers.
The “non-aligned” movement still exists today, along with dozens of other organizations equally devoted to the independence of the underdeveloped countries and their progress. “Non-alignment” is no less an illusion and a fraud today than it was yesterday. It is an illusion because not one of the ex-colonies has freed itself from the clutches of imperialism since the Second World War. The economic dependence of the underdeveloped countries has in fact constantly increased over the years. Their debts to the imperialist countries hover over the $300 billion mark. The figures are so high that soon all the new “aid” from the rich countries together will not even be enough to cover the repayment of the earlier debts. Despite some deceptive appearances, the gap between the rich and poor countries has continued to widen steadily.
“Non-alignment” as an original path to progress and socialism is a fraud. When a country’s development depends on the penetration of capital, even if it comes from several different countries, it leads to capitalism not socialism. Despite the sometimes significant vestiges of feudalism which remain in many underdeveloped countries, it is evident that all of these countries are in the course of being transformed into areas completely under the sway of the laws of capital – and furthermore, subject to the laws of monopoly and foreign capital.
It is very significant that the movements to unite the underdeveloped countries, including the “non-aligned” movement, have generally had the support of one or the other of the great powers. When Tito was the bandleader of the forces denouncing the Soviet Union in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the United States displayed great sympathy for him and supported his various undertakings. When Nasser and Castro became the champions of those condemning U.S. imperialism, the Soviet Union was quick to come a-courting with words of encouragement for the coming together of the underdeveloped countries. Today it is China that holds the “non-aligned” movement in the highest esteem. It is easy enough to see what lies just barely beneath the surface of China’s hypocritical pretence at a disinterested involvement.
The different imperialist powers have got their tenterhooks into all parts of the world. They can only be dislodged by force. The unity of the underdeveloped countries will remain an illusion because each one of these countries is divided from the other in accordance with the interests of the imperialist powers which dominate them. The conflicts occurring now in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia are eloquent enough testimony that we need say no more. By the same token, progress and socialism will remain impossible dreams in these regions of the globe as long as the imperialist powers have not been completely and definitively thrown out.
It is high time that the nonsense that was all the rage in the 1960’s about “original models of development” for the underdeveloped countries be put to rest: those models do not exist. There is only one path that is capable of throwing off the imperialist yoke that weighs on the shoulders of the whole world: proletarian revolution. The economic situation of the underdeveloped countries is proof by negative example. Further “negative” proof is provided by the ongoing reality of imperialist domination in all these countries, based on the most reactionary local regimes.
In general, the imperialist countries have managed to maintain the outward appearance of democracy at home. But the situation is very different in many less-developed countries. With few exceptions, Latin America and many underdeveloped countries live under the jackboots of military regimes which are barely distinguishable from fascist ones. We are all familiar with the bourgeois explanation for this: the people in these countries are just too backwards politically to apply the rules of European and American democracy. Such hypocritical rationalizations are radically contradicted by historical fact.
The people in these countries have carried out long struggles, most often armed struggles, against European and North American imperialism and for freedom and democracy. Most of these countries had established democratic regimes once the colonial powers had left. It was foreign imperialism, most notably the United States, that abolished democracy in these places and supported the coming to power of local despots utterly sold out to the interests of imperialism.
In Latin America, countries like Argentina, Brazil and Chile – to name but a few – had their first bourgeois constitutions as long ago as the beginning of the 19th century. The military dictatorships headed up by Videla, Pinochet and Geisel took power in 1976, 1973 and 1964 respectively. All of them were established in the wake of the overthrow of constitutional bourgeois governments. In Argentina, the corruption of the Peronist regime served as the pretext for the coup d’etat. In Brazil, the excuse was Goulart’s attempt to enact a land reform. In Chile, the anti-Americanism of the Allende government was what provoked the Chilean army, which had been touted as neutral, to intervene to “serve the higher interests of the Nation”. In all three cases, the CIA (the intelligence agency of the biggest “democracy” in the world) provided direct support in overthrowing the governments – governments which were no less bourgeois – and in establishing fascist dictatorships. This is a fact worth keeping in mind.
Similarly, in Africa, nearly all the various national regimes established in the 1950’s and the 1960’s ended up as dictatorships of a fascist clique. This is what happened in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. The same is true for Nigeria, where a government which was democratically elected when it achieved independence in 1960 outlawed all opposition parties in 1968.
The same pattern holds true for Asia. In Iran, a democratic government which even included the Communist Party was elected right after the victory over Hitler. The communists were soon ousted, but Mossadegh continued in power and dared to put forward a programme of nationalizing oil. The democratic CIA lost no time in ousting him too in 1953 and bringing in Shah Pahlavi as his replacement. In Pakistan, independence brought with it parliamentary democracy... until 1958 when a military coup d’etat was carried out by Ayub Khan. Ever since then, one military group has been succeeded by another. In the Philippines, the dietator Marcos took power by means of parliamentary elections. He kept power in that way up to the point where he declared martial law (which is still in effect) in 1972.
In short, the reactionary dictatorships in the underdeveloped countries are the direct consequence of imperialism. The imperialists need such regimes to serve their interests, to keep the people deprived of their freedom and under their thumbs and to suppress the progressive movements which are struggling everywhere you look against oppression.
Imperialists don’t go to war for the pleasure of fighting, but out of necessity. The same is true for the growth of repression against the working-class movement and the oppressed peoples and for the growth of fascism and the reactionary forces. These are not the result of certain violent and bloodthirsty individuals who take power and who modify the course of history because of their disturbed psychology. No, reactionary forces and fascism, the intensification of repression, and the rise not only of ultra-right ideas but also of ultra-right organizations in the majority of capitalist countries today, are responses to the social and political conditions which result from the development of capitalism in its imperialist stage. At the turn of the century, Lenin established that in terms of politics, imperialism means reaction. History has confirmed this conclusion and clearly shown that the bourgeoisie adopts an ultra-right policy each time that it is faced with the real possibility of resistance on the part of the working class and masses to bourgeois measures for intensifying exploitation. The bourgeoisie has been forced to implement these measures because of the increasingly acute crises of capitalism.
Bourgeois society, a society where the capitalist mode of production predominates, came into being more than two centuries ago and spread, first throughout Europe and then to the rest of the world, on the basis of the republican slogan of “Liberty, Fraternity, Equality”. Much blood was spilt to establish the society of bourgeois democracy throughout the world. More blood was spilt again to defend this society against the fascist threat at the time of the Second World War. And even today, people are waging armed struggle in many regions of the globe to achieve democracy.
Has all this blood been spilt in vain? Are the aspirations of millions of men and women who are subjected to the most barbarous forms of oppression but an illusion? We cannot give absolute answers to these questions. Historically, the bourgeois revolution and the forms of democracy that it brought represented enormous progress for humanity, even though bourgeois democracy has always been, first and foremost, democracy for the bourgeoisie. But today, even in the most advanced societies, capitalism no longer produces democracy because of the very nature of its internal contradictions. The product of capitalism today is repression, reaction and fascism. The forms of reaction that it produces are just as reactionary and barbarous as those of the most reactionary and barbarous systems that preceded it.
Fascism in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s was not the product of feudalism. And fascism today in the underdeveloped countries is not the result of feudalism or tribalism either. No. Fascism in the 1930’s developed in the midst of a profound crisis of capitalism and as the consequence of this crisis. Fascism today in the underdeveloped countries was established and is maintained by imperialism because it is the political regime best suited to the continuation of its superexploitation of the people that live in those countries.
It is also a fact that violent repression of the broad masses is more than just a bad memory or a far-off reality limited to countries that aren’t very developed. In the past few years, the reactionary tendency has been clearly dominant in capitalist countries. Countless repressive measures have been adopted recently throughout the world to contain popular revolt, disorganize the working-class movement, and reduce democratic rights gradually while constantly broadening the power and tools of the police and the army. Attacks on free expression increase daily. The most sophisticated means are used to spy on mass organizations and progressive individuals. And if the police or the army is caught red-handed in illegal acts, there’s no problem – the law is quickly changed to meet the demands of State security!
The reasons behind all of this are very clear. The goal is to totally disarm the masses, to nip their resistance in the bud, and to keep them politically powerless. This becomes even clearer if we examine the particularly repressive treatment reserved for progressive movements in general and for communists in particular.
The methods used to make the labour movement stray from its essential purpose, which is to defend the working-class movement from the attacks of capitalism, give us a very good idea of the range of methods that the bourgeoisie uses to attain its goal.
In countries where the total collaboration of the trade unions cannot be taken for granted, collaboration which in numerous countries has been confided to social democracy and revisionists, the unions are first on the list. In many cases the “labour codes” (all of the laws controlling the relations between bosses and workers) have become real strait jackets that tend to transform unions into simple appendages of State power. Their internal operations are rigorously regulated by an elaborate system set up and controlled by representatives of the bourgeoisie. The State is able in this way to control the process of compulsory recognition of unions and to regulate their internal operation, in particular concerning calling a strike. The State can also destroy unions by levying fines or by purely and simply dissolving them if they do not abide by its dictates.
In many cases, union officers are placed in a position of having to defend the bourgeoisie rather than the union members under the threat of judicial action, revocations, the dissolution of the union, etc.
If we add to this the fact that union leaders are regularly called upon to take part in different conferences and advisory commissions or to send delegates to boards of directors of State enterprises and even, in certain countries, to boards of directors of private companies; and if we add the different and sometimes generous grants which they receive on different pretexts, the pattern emerges of how, little by little, unions are on their way to being totally integrated into the bourgeois State apparatus.
The hope is that, in this way, little by little, unions will be a bit less concerned with the interests of the working class and a bit more concerned with those of the nation which shares the hardships of the crisis, the assault of foreign capitalists, and the disastrous effects of the unreasonable demands of workers!
The bourgeoisie’s tune is well known, or at least it should be. Little by little, corporatism is taking over through the institutionalization, at the expense of the working-class movement, of the collaboration of management, the State, and unions. (It seems that while the do-gooders are happy that corporatism is apparently on the way out in Spain, they may not be so adverse to supporting its establishment in Canada.) Corporatism also makes good bedfellows with nationalism, chauvinism, and anti-communism. Indeed for them, the nation should not only remain united against foreign threats to its wellbeing; it should also be on the watch for all the “leftists”, the communists, whose radical demands might at any moment destroy the precarious equilibrium which remains essential.
The dominant tendency towards reaction on the part of the bourgeoisie, by way of its State, and the support which it is able to win in the union movement thanks to the labour bosses, are already bad enough. But they do not describe the whole situation. We must also point out the rise of the extremist ideological tendencies among the reactionary forces. We can and should speak of openly fascist tendencies in many countries.
Open calls for the repression of progressive movements are being heard increasingly. The defence of the family, the homeland, and religion finds followers even among youth. Racist and chauvinist ideologies are reappearing. Reactionary literature is distributed widely. The masses are invited to oppose all progressive measures in the name of bourgeois morality, the morality of maintaining the established order. At the same time, songs and magazines promoting the white male and indiscriminate violence get top billing. Hitler and his cohorts would be envious.
These tendencies are organized. Their material resources seem to be unlimited. Religious sects are multiplying, fascist groups are openly demonstrating and are progressively being transformed into officially recognized political parties. These organizations are increasingly turning to open terrorism, physical assault and even assassinations to establish their domination over the communities they seek to control... in the name of the anti-communist struggle, in the name of the struggle against the invasion of coloured people, or against “sexual deviations”, in the name of protecting jobs against immigrants or of the right to work for “scabs” and strikebreakers – in short, on all kinds of pretexts which have an appearance of legitimacy.
We can still find people today who claim that fascism has had its day, that it’s an ideology and policy that died with the defeat of Germany in 1945. Supposedly fascism today is but a parlour game for backward intellectuals... We won’t play around with words. It is quite evident that the fascism of the 1920’s through the 1940’s presented characteristics which the new extreme right-wing may not have, should it rise to power in the advanced capitalist countries. Moreover, there exist regimes which can be called fascist in many underdeveloped countries which don’t use Hitler as an authority and which aren’t, in principle, based on anti-semitism... So what?
Fascism is not only a horde of hoodlums pitched against workers on strike or communist demonstrations. Fascism is not only concentration camps and crematorium ovens, where thousands of Jews were killed. Fascism is not only parades of militarized youths, dressed in brown, carrying iron crosses. Fascism begins as an ideology, the ideology of national and social renewal (giving rise to the expression of “national-socialism”, shortened to “Nazi”). It is the ideology of the struggle against trusts which are too powerful, corrupt politicians, unemployment, social misery, and national humiliation; and for a strong nation, economic recovery, and a return to the moral values, now lost, that were the guarantee of happiness for past generations – free enterprise, the family and religion.
Fascism is the last stronghold of decaying capitalism in times of very serious difficulties, when popular demands grow and threaten the established order of things, and in particular when the call to revolution falls on attentive ears among working people. And this is precisely the situation which is developing throughout the imperialist world at the present time.
It is high time that the working-class movement, sincere progressive people and youth looking for a better future remember that fascism did exist, that it developed in the context of a serious crisis of capitalism, and... that it led humanity to wholesale slaughter.
It is high time that the working-class movement understand what really lies behind the smokescreen of reformist theories that the bourgeoisie has been promoting for the past thirty years in an attempt to make socialist revolution appear unnecessary. The real aim was and is the defence of capitalism at all costs, even if the cost is fascist dictatorship.
The violent anti-communism that has characterized the 1940’s and 1950’s tapered off in the 1960’s. The U.S.A., that model of progress, democracy, and freedom, was experiencing “weaknesses” that were harder and harder to conceal. The GIs and the Marines were landing all around the world supposedly to defend freedom and contain communism in the Eastern countries. This looked a little suspicious. What freedom were they talking about when it took the most powerful army in the world to maintain it in the smallest and poorest countries, where nary a trace of the “international brigades” could be found?
Besides that, the inhabitants of the Black and Chicano ghettos of “America the Free” went about demystifying all these illusions cultivated at a cost of millions of dollars.
The time came when the American dream, filmed in Hollywood and projected onto the screens of millions of movie houses around the world, was no longer able to counter the tragic images of war in Vietnam and the revolt of Black and Chicano Americans.
Bourgeois ideology evolved. Capitalism was “in trouble”; socialism had its good sides. A mixture of the two was the path to the future. It was only a question of socialism taking on a more “human face”, like Tito’s for example, or later, Dubcek’s, and of capitalism adopting “socialist measures”. And the Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden, provided the model.
The so-called avant-guardist tendency among intellectuals, economists, sociologists, and philosophers of the time was to affirm that capitalism and socialism were inevitably going to merge. The promoters of this tendency claimed that in capitalist countries, the State was playing an increasing role in economic affairs, while in the “socialist” countries – i.e. the U.S.S.R. and other revisionist countries, like Yugoslavia – the State was on the road to giving greater room to initiative by factory managers who were better placed than the State bureaucracy to develop production and assure the economic efficiency of an enterprise. In short, according to them, socialists were going full circle – back to private enterprise!
It was the era of the defeat of socialism in the U.S.S.R. and the triumph of a temporary return to capitalism, a return to the rule of profit and the accumulation of capital. It was the era during which a large number of communist parties degenerated into revisionism and began to move towards social democracy, a trend which has continued since then. It was possible to be socialist and even communist without being a Bolshevik or a Stalinist! Socialism would come, it was inevitable. Socialism was the path of progress, of course. But revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat were no longer necessary. What a relief! The only thing that had to be done was to put a little pressure on capitalism so that it evolved in the right direction. The “Swedish model”, which was so fashionable in Europe and the U.S.A., and perhaps even more so in Canada, was there just waiting to be imitated.
The years went by. The socialist countries of the 1940’s, led by the U.S.S.R., did in fact move closer to the capitalist countries – to such an extent that they could no longer be distinguished from them, except by their phraseology. As for the capitalist countries, they adopted one “socialist” measure after the other, from medicare to crown corporations. And yet crises continued to occur regularly and the “American dream” continued to fade away.
The crisis of the 1970’s, which affected all the countries, of the capitalist world, destroyed some illusions. Bourgeois intellectuals were seeing things in a new light. If socialism and capitalism do merge, they said, it won’t happen in the near future. And in any case, who says the merger is necessary? In short, the problem was not the capitalist system, but the fact that the laws of capital had not been applied! That was why the future would be a return to the past!
And the fact that the masters of this system are trying to polish up their image, that they mandate “specialists” to demonstrate the system’s superiority over all other systems, comes as no surprise. Capitalism has always maintained an army of intellectuals charged with defending its virtues with an appearance of scientific rigour. In many cases it has even underwritten reformism and the criticism of the system as proof positive of its attachment to democracy, of course, but more particularly with the goal of clipping the wings of all genuinely revolutionary forces which might be the least bit threatening.
Today the bourgeoisie must once again not only maintain reformism; it must go much further. It must try to convince us that it is the reactionary camp that can attain the ideal of a new society. What should draw our attention at this time is the increasing difficulty of distinguishing between the theoreticians of the superiority of capitalism (like the American Milton Friedman, whose reactionary economic theories are penetrating milieux previously close to Keynes and his reformist ilk) and the propagandists of the most profoundly reactionary ideologies, most of which clearly present themselves as movements of new morality and religion and whose slogans come directly from European right-wing nationalists of the turn of the century and the fascist organizations of the 1920’s and 1930’s.
The evolution of bourgeois ideology has not been confined to the academics who took up the task of improving capitalism’s image. For example, Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, long promoted certain reforms of capitalism, a system which he says should not be seen as unchangeable. Today, we see him claiming to be one of the firmest partisans of less State intervention in the economy, of a return to a more rigorous application of the capitalist rules, of the denationalization of certain crown corporations, and of smaller budgets for social affairs, cultural affairs, etc., to the benefit of increased aid for business, the real source of new jobs.
Despite the opportunism and electoralism behind some of these statements, they are noteworthy. They announce the start of a major about-face within the bourgeoisie, in terms of the way it is going to try to solve the contradictions of capitalism in imperialist countries, whose heads of State and ministers are meeting more and more frequently in summit conferences.
Heads of State are not alone in getting together to discuss the crisis and its solutions. The Trilateral Commission, an initiative of the big U.S. financier Rockefeller, is another example of these “exclusive clubs” where high-level government aides, intellectuals, aspiring politicians, and “labour bosses” (the term they themselves use to describe trade-union leaders) get together to study the great issues of the day, including the “crisis of democracy”.
The work of the Trilateral Commission (“trilateral” because it includes members from Western Europe, Japan and North America) becomes all the more interesting when we look at some of its members. It includes people like Jimmy Carter, his special adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, the ex-chancellor of West Germany Willy Brandt, the Prime Minister of France Raymond Barre, the ex-president of the United Steelworkers I.W. Abel, the ex-boss of the Anti-inflation board in Canada Jean-Luc Pepin, and the present leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec Claude Ryan!
In 1975, the Commission published the results of its long debates on democracy . Many Canadian trade-unionists, intellectuals and politicians, including Ryan, took part in these debates. These documents tell us that democracy has never been in such good health as it was in the 25 years following the Second World War. This remarkable success is due to the leadership given by the United States “... for the community of democratic nations” , sustained economic growth, the decrease in class conflicts... “and succesful resistance on a collective and individual basis, to the challenges posed externally by Soviet military might and internally by communist party strength.”  “But”, add the authors, “this happy congruence of circumstances for democracy has come to an end.” 
The Trilateral Commission goes on to describe the cure for the current crisis of democracy. Its prescription includes the reduction of social measures by the State, the reinforcement of the community of interests of all of society, and the restoration of the authority of the family, church, schools, and the army over youth!
It takes a lot of gall to laud the wonderful democracy in countries which have not ceased for a minute since the war to use their military and economic power to subjugate other weaker countries. And it takes just as much gall to talk about “spectacular economic growth” for countries which have only been able to avoid a major crisis in the past thirty years at the price of robbing other countries, and which today are in the thralls of an insoluble crisis.
But what we should really pay attention to is the fact that the solutions of these so-called democrats call forth the same slogan which the fascists made their fortunes with in the 1930’s. And another thing which we must pay attention to is that they affirm quite openly that these measures are necessary to assure that the dictatorship – which is inevitable in the next twenty or thirty years, according to Willy Brandt – is not a communist dictatorship! In short, what these people are saying is that to save “democracy”, they have no hesitations about re-establishing the open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. In other words: ’Capitalism is in peril. We must be ready to use all means necessary for its survival.’ That’s the kind of “democracy” we should expect from the capitalists when capitalism is in crisis: fascism, the maintenance of social cohesion through the return to traditional values, and the conviction that the welfare of society presents a challenge for all its members! And long live the unity of the nation against internal and external danger, just as in the 1930’s and after the war!
The respectable members of the Trilateral Commission are not right-wing extremists. As far as we know, they don’t belong to the Ku Klux Klan, the John Birch Society, neo-Nazi parties, or the Michaelites. The Trilateral Commission is composed of politicians, trade-unionists, and academics who are active today in the industrialized countries where they have earned the reputation of being perfectly “upright citizens”. Faced with the current crisis, these men are taking positions in very unambiguous terms: to save “democracy”, we have to be ready to reduce the exercise of democracy; to save our advanced Western societies, we must reestablish the traditional values of the family, church, army, and reinforce the community of interests of the whole of society.
During democracy’s “finest hour” – the 25 years from 1945 to 1970 – the bourgeoisie spoke of the imminent marriage between capitalism and socialism and scattered a few reforms around, in an attempt to tone down the demands of the masses. It advertised its reforms as the prelude to a fabulous future that was just around the corner through economic growth and scientific progress. There were, of course, a few backward countries which had serious handicaps, but with the “aid” of the civilized world, they would surely find the “original path” for their development. The reformists’ optimism was flying high. The communists and revolutionaries were becoming an extinct species.
But suddenly, the reformists started humming a different tune. In order to overcome the crisis and save democracy, it became necessary to restore social cohesion, re-establish the community of interests of all of society and remove the burden of social obligations from the State. Why this about-face? Bourgeois ideology corresponds to bourgeois interests. It was a matter of nothing less than rescuing capitalism from one of the most severe crises of its history. And that is how reformism proves to be the vanguard of reaction and fascism, just as it did in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
It is high time that working people pay attention to this situation. The twenty years of suffering which the European peoples experienced under fascism, the super-exploitation and fascism which the underdeveloped countries have been victim of, and finally, the two world wars, teach us lessons which each one of us should remember. Imperialism is condemned to pass from one crisis to the next; it is on the edge of a new major crisis. Conditions for a third world war are almost ripe. Fascism is also a growing threat. It is not enough for communists to be conscious of this; they must alert the peoples of the world and prepare the resistance - resistance which must lead to proletarian revolution, the only solution to the repeated and ever more serious crises of decaying capitalism.
Today, many people are conscious that capitalism is not paradise on earth. In fact, the material conditions of the masses are constantly deteriorating, not only in underdeveloped countries but also in the most industrialized ones. Everywhere, unemployment has attained levels unknown since the 1930’s. The prices of consumer goods, in particular food, clothing and housing, are rising at a frantic rate.
No further proof is needed of the misery of the populations of the underdeveloped and dominated countries. In Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, low wages, an astronomical rate of unemployment and, in many cases, famine, are the rule. These countries remain reserves of raw materials and cheap labour. This is the practical result of the numerous political, diplomatic and military interventions on the part of Western imperialism in these countries during the period following the Second World War. These interventions, which were made in the name of the defence of freedom and democracy against the “communist threat”, had but one goal: to dominate these countries and establish regimes subjugated to the interests of Capital.
For many years, the military and economic activities of Western imperialism, notably U.S. imperialism, in the underdeveloped countries, in addition to the investments necessary for the reconstruction of Europe, devastated by the war, allowed it to get through the cyclical crises of capitalism without too much trouble. In general, the crises were not very long and were soon followed by a resumption of production, as occurred in the early 1960’s.
But since the 1970’s and especially since 1974, the entire capitalist world has entered a period of successive crises, and the system is no longer really able to recuperate. There is a relative stagnation of production, and capitalism cannot cope with this indefinitely.
Capitalist crises are not a new phenomenon. It is by way of such crises that capitalism has developed since its origin. They are part of the very nature of Capital: they are its inevitable product. At the level of each enterprise, capitalism is based on a rigorous organization of production which favours the greatest productivity; on the level of society, however, capitalist production is characterized by the greatest anarchy. Each capitalist, each enterprise, each trust, does not seek the welfare of society in general: it seeks its own profit. It thus produces what is profitable; and that, only when it is profitable.
This is the famous law of supply and demand. When market conditions are favourable, when consumer buying power is high, all the capitalists and all the enterprises, without exception, go full swing into production so as to be the one who will profit the most, the fastest. That’s all fine and dandy... until such time as the market can no longer absorb such an influx of products or, more precisely, until such time as the consumers are incapable of buying all these products at prices which will assure a “reasonable” profit for the capitalists. So the stock of merchandise accumulates, enterprises must temporarily, and then permanently, close their doors, and workers by the thousands and tens of thousands are reduced to unemployment; and the result is a new fall in the demand for products, new layoffs, and so on and so forth.
Capitalist anarchy leads to crises of overproduction, to the catastrophic situation where the masses cannot clothe, feed, or house themselves properly, not because there is a lack of clothing, food or houses, but because there is too much! The only solution to the crises of capitalism is the massive destruction of production – wars often being the main means by which the ruling class can achieve this.
Stocks of merchandise are sold at reduced prices or even destroyed, machines are replaced by more modern ones to reduce production costs, a certain number of competitors are eliminated through bankruptcy – all these factors combine to boost the economy. The entire history of capitalism, from its beginning, has been punctuated by such crises, which act as regulators of capitalist production. At the same time, they have favoured the concentration of capital, i.e., the constitution of increasingly powerful enterprises, to the detriment of the smaller ones which are no longer able to support the competition and are reduced to bankruptcy.
It is true, however, that for over thirty years now, imperialism has not experienced a crisis as catastrophic as the depression of the 1930’s. This fact led many to believe that capitalism had found the solutions to its problems and that henceforth, the future would be smooth sailing. They did not consider what price was paid to avoid a new major crisis of capitalism during those thirty years. This price was so astronomical that the current crisis will undoubtedly be more disastrous than all the previous ones.
The non-socialist world was clearly dominated by the U.S. superpower during the twenty years which followed the Second World War. Throughout this entire period, the economies of all of Western Europe and that of Japan had to be rebuilt. This evidently offered considerable possibilities for investments, and the major U.S. monopolies did not miss their chance; and increasingly, neither did their European and Japanese partners. The result was a period of general prosperity for imperialism, and more particularly for U.S. imperialism, which had no real competition in the conquest of the very substantial European and Japanese markets. Nor did it encounter any competition in the conquest of the markets and sources of raw materials and labour in the former colonies and semi-colonies of Asia and Africa.
But such favourable conditions could not resist for long the insatiable appetite of big Capital, which is not exclusively American. Other powers, which were “rebuilt” after the war, also sought markets, and Soviet social imperialism began to intrude on the private preserves of Western imperialism. Difficulties cropped up more and more rapidly in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and the major imperialist countries all suffered a drop in production. To combat this, they increasingly turned to artificial means of stimulating the economy.
This led to a tremendous increase in State expenditures and debts and the use of consumer credit to an unprecedented extent. The different capitalist governments succeeded in stimulating production by creating a demand for goods and services which was well beyond the real buying capacities of consumers. In this way they simply put off the explosion of the crisis until later, accentuating each time the disastrous consequences.
When imperialist countries open credits with underdeveloped countries, in exchange for the agreement of these countries to buy merchandise from them, they stimulate production. Enterprises in the imperialist countries produce goods and sell them at huge profits to these underdeveloped countries which have not only to pay for the goods in question, but have also to pay interest, usually at an exorbitant rate.
The importance of this phenomena is underscored by the fact that the public debt (the State’s debt) of the underdeveloped countries jumped from 20 billion dollars to 50 billion dollars during the 1960’s. The total debt of the underdeveloped countries is now estimated at more than 300 billion dollars.
In imperialist countries like Canada and the U.S.A., in particular, the same result is obtained when consumer credit is generalized in all its forms: the immediate sale of merchandise which otherwise would have remained on the shelves and constituted a surplus, an overproduction, is made possible. In both cases, however, the real buying price is raised, because the interest must be added to the price of the merchandise. This alone is a factor of inflation.
The imperialist countries also had recourse to another means for maintaining the economy in good running order: they increased State expenditures enormously. In all these countries the bureaucratic apparatus of the State has attained monstrous proportions, without any relation to the real capacities of the productive apparatus. This does, of course, create jobs, but since they are often unproductive jobs, which don’t lead to increased social wealth, this is another source of inflation. The monetary mass must be increased, although production does not increase proportionally.
The marked tendency of imperialist States to increase unproductive expenditures is particularly evident when we consider military expenses, which have attained unimaginable levels. In constant 1970 U.S. dollars, the figures are the following. In 1908, world military spending equalled $9 billion; in 1938, $61.6 billion; in 1948, $64.7 billion. Since that time, it has grown steadily from year to year. In 1958 it reached $ 126.8 billion; in 1968, $209.2 billion; and finally by 1975, it had attained $213.8 billion. It is evaluated that between the Second World War and 1975 inclusively, world military expenditures attained 4,500 billion dollars. As a point of comparison, military expenditures attained 15 times the value of all the official “aid” given to the underdeveloped countries. This gives an idea of what a waste of resources they represent. It should also be pointed out that military spending is completely unproductive. A tractor represents an expenditure of social wealth, of raw materials and labour; but with a tractor, we can farm, we can create new wealth. A tank represents a lot of labour, but it has no use other than to sit around rusting or to kill! The 213.8 billion dollars spent on all sorts of arms in 1975 has to be paid for ultimately. And it is the masses who are bled white through income and other taxes of all kinds demanded by the imperialist States. The 213.8 billion dollars for military spending represents an incredible amount of money which the masses in the capitalist countries cannot use to buy clothes, furniture, food and other useful goods. The result is that the market in all these sectors shrinks perceptibly which leads to an aggravation of the economic difficulties, more layoffs, bankruptcies, etc.
But what is even more serious is that the imperialists are obliged to relentlessly pursue their military build-up if they do not wish to let their rivals get ahead and take over regions of the globe that they dominate and that they need to develop their capital. The imperialists are caught up in a vicious circle which can only lead to a new world war. As the economic crisis worsens, they need markets and sources of cheap raw materials. They need soldiers, tanks and planes to conquer them and keep them, and that costs more and more, and accentuates the economic crisis. How long can this go on?
In late 1960’s, the economies of the imperialist countries began to fall apart. Several factors explain this evolution. Once again there was greater and greater contention between a certain number of big powers. The United States was not the only one seeking new markets, cheap manpower, and natural resources; it was increasingly confronted by its voracious Soviet rival, as well as its own allies the West German, Japanese, French, Australian and, of course, Canadian imperialists.
As well, the palliatives, employed until then to control the crisis were no longer sufficient. The monetary system was brought to a standstill. The U.S. dollar, which could no longer be covered by U.S. gold reserves, was contested. The 1945 Bretton Woods agreement was broken: the U.S. dollar remained the exchange currency of the capitalist world, the currency used in commercial deals between countries, but it was no longer guaranteed by its equivalent in gold, whose price is now floating.
U.S. leaders, in turn devaluated the dollar and so lowered the price of their merchandise for export and tried to reconquer their commercial supremacy in the Western bloc. This is what President Nixon tried to do in 1971. The result was a slight recovery for the United States, but at the price of extending the crisis to most other countries that were shaken by the fall of the U.S. dollar.
In 1974, a new overproduction crisis broke out in all the capitalist countries, including the U.S.A. It can be said that since then, the imperialist economy has not yet begun to recover, and the bourgeois economists don’t see a recovery in the near future, despite repeated promises on the part of the politicians, who announce this recovery every six months. At all of their conferences, like the 1978 summer conference in Bonn, the heads of the most powerful States announce measures to put the economy back on its feet, but nothing really changes.
In the majority of industrialized countries, industrial production has either not increased or has hardly increased at all since 1974; in many cases, it has even dropped. This is the case in Australia, Belgium, Finland, Luxemburg, Switzerland and even Norway and Sweden, those “artificial paradises” of social democracy. Elsewhere, in all the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – that is, all the countries of Western Europe, North America, Australia, and some others) the index of industrial production went from 109 to 110, between 1974 and 1978. This means that despite a growth in population and technical development, the production of new goods, including military equipment, has practically remained the same for four consecutive years. So it’s not too surprising that unemployment has reached such high levels in several countries during the same period. In Belgium, the rate rose from 4% in 1974 to 10.2% in 1978; in Germany, from 2.6% to 4.1%; in the United Kingdom, from 2.6% to 5.7%; in Italy, from 2.9% to 6.8%.
With industrial production stagnating and unemployment showing no sign of slowing down, all of these industrial countries have experienced extremely high rates of inflation. One thing is already clear – the postwar recipe no longer works. Up until now, inflationary policies have been able to maintain a relatively “low” level of unemployment and moderate economic growth. Today, however, all the imperialist governments, without exception, are stuck with spiralling inflation, which they can no longer control, and ever-increasing unemployment rates.
The financial and economic crises are now overlapped and mutually aggravate one another. In the majority of countries, the monetary mass has increased 50% in the same four-year period. This means that though the real value of goods has remained almost stationary, the mass of money in circulation is almost 50% greater than it was four years ago. This mass of money did not fall from the sky. It was put into circulation by the bourgeoisie to stimulate the economy, either by credits for production, military expenditures, or general State expenditures. It is new money which does not correspond to useful goods. It is new money which fattens capital by artificially stimulating production, but which impoverishes the masses at a frightening rhythm.
And although the capitalists, and more particularly big finance Capital, can almost daily adjust the price of their merchandise to the real value of money, the workers – whose wages are generally fixed for two or three years in advance are in a very different situation. As well, in recent years, all the imperialist States, with a few rare exceptions, have intervened with special legislation to freeze wages and prevent their adjustment to the cost of living, thus assuring that they remain as low as possible, for as long as possible. With ridiculous nominal wage increases and a rate of inflation which is almost always higher, the workers of the capitalist world have in fact suffered a reduction in their real income.
It would seem that the bourgeoisie is finally confronted with the disastrous results of the measures to artificially stimulate production to which it has resorted so extensively since the Second World War. But there is a law of capitalism which cannot be continually ignored. This law is that production depends on consumption. However, the masses’ capacity to consume is constantly decreasing. The weight of personal debts, the continual increase in taxes (often for unproductive expenditures), the breakneck speed with which the cost of consumer goods increases, linked to growing unemployment, augur very somber days for the future of the capitalist economy. The stagnation of production, and, what is worse, economic recession, mean the death of Capital.
After the Second World War, the defenders of capitalism, the mouthpieces of the bourgeoisie, insisted that an economic crisis like the depression of the 1930’s could never again occur. It was now possible to avoid such crises through the use of “regulating mechanisms”. This did in fact seem to work for a number of years, and all the economic crises were solved before they assumed serious proportions. The “regulating mechanisms” worked: by controlling the money in circulation and interest rates, by pumping capital into the economy through government spending, and so on, the State could keep crises and depressions under control.
It was, however, all an illusion. A new, major crisis in capitalism has been latent for many years. Up until now, it has been repeatedly postponed thanks to a series of more or less temporary circumstances and expedients. But these devices in no way resolved the inherent contradictions of capitalism that inevitably result in crises. When these devices no longer work, the crisis will be all the more catastrophic.
The more or less temporary circumstances included the large-scale destruction of the means of production during the Second World War and their subsequent reconstruction. They also included the vast fields of investment that were opened up as the underdeveloped countries began to undergo substantial industrialization. The expedients included a disproportionate rise in unproductive spending, credit, inflation.
Nevertheless, there is a limit to the opportunities for profitable investments in underdeveloped countries. These countries tend more and more – quite rightly – to demand more favourable conditions. The production that gradually migrated towards these countries with their reserves of cheaper labour now competes directly with production in imperialist countries. It is increasingly difficult to work out trade agreements between developed and underdeveloped countries. As the flow of trade and especially of capital becomes an international phenomenon, there will be an inevitable trend towards more uniform production costs. Capitalism develops through the export of capital as well as goods.
In any case, despite all the expedients employed up until now, the economies of the imperialist countries are falling apart. All the industrialized countries today admit that they are powerless to combat effectively both unemployment and inflation. It stands to reason, since for many years now economic growth has only been maintained at the expense of unproductive spending and the inflationary creation of money.
But profits are still vitally essential for capital if it is not to lose all value; and profits come basically from production. This is the economic basis of the ever-sharper inter-imperialist rivalries. The battle for markets and investment opportunities has its political parallel in the opposition between the various big powers and monopolies. This opposition threatens once again to escalate into a world war. Since the imperialist powers can no longer dominate their adversaries on strictly economic grounds, with all the intrigue, manoeuvring and corruption that that entails, their only recourse is military confrontation.
If heads of State are to be believed, they are all fervent advocates of world peace. But meanwhile, the United States and the U.S.S.R. are negotiating an agreement on a supposed arms limitation; and China is appealing to the entire world to unite against the U.S.S.R. to ward off the war that only the latter can possibly instigate. Meanwhile, NATO refines its strategy vis-a-vis the Warsaw Pact; China is frantically searching for modern arms the world over; and military budgets are growing more rapidly than ever before, even more rapidly than in times of war.
What heads of bourgeois States do is more important than what they say. The peoples have learned from history that there are no more barefaced liars than bourgeois politicians. Their pacifist demagogy should not make us overlook the fact that the economies of the capitalist countries are in bad shape and that there are already many local conflicts in which the big powers are very obviously involved because their interests are at stake.
Last but not least, fascist ideology is on the rise, as we have already seen; and fascist ideology is also an ideology of war. The defence of the “community of interests of society as a whole” can be used in two ways. It can be used to cover up the conflicting interests of the classes that make up society – the “internal threat”, in the words of the Trilateral Commission. It can also be used to appeal to the entire society to unite against the “external threats”. In other words, the class collaboration and corporatism that are rooted in the alleged community of interests of society as a whole are closely related to the nationalism and chauvinism that are also based on the “transcendental” unity of the “national society” as a whole in the face of other societies.
It is undoubtedly true that the capitalists do not establish fascism or go to war for the sheer pleasure of doing so. Nonetheless, whenever it becomes a vital necessity for the survival of Capital, there are capitalists ready to establish fascism or go to war. They even do it enthusiastically and zealously, and some of them seem to enjoy it.
Many people in the world today have to live with fascism and war, and others lived through them not so very long ago. The cyclical return to a similar situation today should remind each and every one of us that the only way to put an end to war, oppression and the dictatorship of a handful of bloodthirsty profiteers is to exterminate them in each country and throughout the world.
The fact that the bourgeoisie is doing its very best to control the working masses is no coincidence. It is no coincidence that it is once again adopting the most radically reactionary and anti-communist positions. It is doing so because, apart from the difficulties it experiences in developing in the context of current sharp inter-imperialist rivalries, it is also well aware that the resistance of the masses is growing rapidly and assuming revolutionary forms in many parts of the world.
One thing is certain: significant numbers of working people are convinced that capitalism does not serve their interests and that it must be replaced or at the very least thoroughly transformed – because the idea that capitalism can be reformed is still very widespread. For growing numbers of these workers, however, socialism is the only solution. This is a growing conviction in relation to a number of different issues: the growing inequalities on a world scale and within individual countries; the waste of natural resources and pollution; national oppression and the oppression of women; unemployment and the deterioration in living and working conditions; the idleness of many young people in these countries; the utter corruption of bourgeois politicians, etc.
It is precisely on the masses’ sense of revolt and reaction against the decay and degeneration of capitalist society that the bourgeoisie plays to instil its extreme right-wing beliefs. It is a historical fact that in the era of imperialism, reactionary and fascist ideologies penetrate some strata by offering a criticism of the most blatant examples of the misery caused by capitalism itself.>/p>
Although extreme right-wing tendencies and organizations exist and are at work among the masses today, their influence is still fairly marginal. The present period is, on the contrary, chiefly characterized by the multiplication of different struggles: economic struggles, democratic struggles and, in some cases, struggles for political power.
The struggles of the Iranian and Nicaraguan peoples have held people’s attention in recent months (summer 1978), and rightly so. In both cases, the masses have risen up against thoroughly reactionary and corrupt regimes, to such an extent that even U.S. imperialism no longer dares support these regimes, especially the Nicaraguan regime, directly and wholeheartedly, and has instead had to try to protect its rear flanks by preparing a “back-up” regime in the event that change proves to be inevitable.
Mass struggle for power has currently reached a high level of development in other countries as well. The struggle of the Palestinian people continues, as it has for many years now, and the combined forces of U.S. and Soviet imperialism, Zionism and reactionary Arab forces have not yet succeeded in crushing it. The peoples of Azania, Namibia and Zimbabwe are engaged in a combat which can only result in the overthrow of racist white power.
At the same time, in most countries of South America, the local bourgeoisie and reactionary forces, and U.S. imperialism are only able to hold off the assault of the masses by resorting to savage, repressive military dictatorships. And even these are unable to contain the popular revolt, which takes the form of strikes, and movements against inflation and poverty and for the re-establishment of democracy. The revolutionary forces in some countries are even sufficiently developed to launch direct attacks against bourgeois-feudal power and its army.
Many popular struggles have developed in Southeast Asia in recent years; and despite the fact that the bourgeois press hardly ever mentions them, they have reached an advanced stage in many cases – for example, in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. In every case, U.S. imperialism is the main counter-revolutionary force propping up the reactionary local regimes.
Mass struggles are not only taking place in underdeveloped countries still dominated by foreign imperialism. Important mass and working-class struggles have occurred in Eastern and Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Canada, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. in recent years. In some places, such as Portugal, Spain and Greece, these struggles have resulted in major political changes in the direction of greater democracy. Elsewhere – in Italy, in particular, but also in Great Britain, France and Belgium – there have been major strike movements and periods of varying lengths of political instability. In many cases, the present equilibrium remains precarious. Social democracy has proved its impotence and its essentially bourgeois nature in the Scandinavian countries to such an extent that the most conservative parties have gained ground as the crisis deepens.
There is an upsurge in many countries in the number of struggles being waged by young people, both students and workers, and women. In addition to the age-old oppression they have endured, women are the first victims – along with young people – of low wages and layoffs. Their resistance is on the rise in every part of the world.
Soon the underpaid or unemployed workers, the tenants and consumers unable to meet the rising cost of living, the women fed up with being promised pie in thesky and seeing their situation of inferiority perpetuated, the students disgusted with being treated as raw materials to be shaped according to the requirements of the labour market, the immigrants condemned to lives of super-exploitation and chronic insecurity, and people deprived of their national, linguistic and cultural rights... will rise up in their millions around the world to express their revolt and their refusal to accept the steady deterioration of their lives and their future.
There is one obvious conclusion. Not only is imperialism threatened by its own contradictions, namely overproduction, inter-imperialist rivalries and competition among the various monopolies; it is also under growing attack from the proletariat and the masses of the people.
This suggests that the conditions exist for the ripening of revolutionary conditions in various countries and on a world scale in the near future. Such a conclusion is indeed justified if we consider the lessons to be drawn from the proletarian and popular struggles in the years of acute crisis leading up to the Second World War.
Revolutionary conditions do not necessarily give rise to revolution. It is also necessary to have revolutionary leadership that can channel working-class and popular struggles towards the overthrow of bourgeois power and the establishment of revolutionary power and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Any serious consideration of the current situation, however, leads one to conclude that in most countries and on the international level this kind of leadership does not exist. Nearly everywhere, the working-class movement is still dominated by reformist, social-democratic and nationalist tendencies that are all characterized by the class collaboration they practise, opening the door to corporatism, nationalism and chauvinism. The working-class movement and people throughout the world are today confronted with the same question they have had to deal with in each serious crisis experienced by capitalism since the beginning of the century: are the popular forces, and more specifically the working class, going to let themselves be saddled with the burden of the bourgeoisie’s contradictions and its solutions, namely the negation of class struggle for the sake of the “community of interests of the entire society” and the defence of national interests against foreign threats? Or are they going to adopt a class line, a revolutionary political line of struggling against the bourgeoisie until it is utterly defeated? This is what is really at stake today. This is the question that the working class must today consider and resolve.
The solutions put forward at the present time by the dominant tendencies in the working-class movement are not revolutionary solutions. Whatever their chosen labels, they are solutions of class collaboration, capitalist solutions, reactionary solutions.
Desiring to assert one’s revolutionary optimism, there is sometimes a tendency to talk as if revolutionary forces are making considerable progress throughout the world and to conclude that the proletariat and the masses everywhere are rejecting the rotten leaders in the labour movement and the reformist political parties active in the working-class movement. This is a dangerously narrow way of looking at matters, because it does not reflect reality.
The cold facts are that old-style revisionism (more commonly known as social democracy) and modern revisionism (namely the parties that used to belong to the Comintern and that have now by and large adopted the line of the CPSU) are still the main political trends at work in the working-class movement throughout the world today. There are many other more-or-less highly developed organizations and parties that claim to fight revisionism but that in practice simply defend a new version of it. These include the Trotskyists, the partisans of the “three worlds theory” and the various brands of supposed Marxist-Leninists, some of whom are nothing more than out-and-out agent-provocateurs. Furthermore, in a great many underdeveloped countries, all political parties are banned by the regimes in power; and, apart from the revolutionary organizations and parties which exist (generally at a fairly low level of development) in some of these countries, there is very little organized political opposition. What opposition there is reflects the same tendencies as exist in the imperialist countries.
Reformism and revisionism are two different forms of the same basic betrayal of the working class. They both fundamentally consist in denying in practice the necessity of revolution. They are both limited to advocating modifications in the capitalist system. In power, both reformists and revisionists implement bourgeois policies.
We have already had ample opportunity to appreciate the real nature of social-democratic reformism: the social democrats have been in power long enough in enough countries since the First World War to dispel any lingering illusions as to their revolutionary potential. Since the end of the Second World War, we have also had ample opportunity to assess the modern revisionists. In the industrialized countries, they have advocated collaboration with the bourgeoisie. In the many national liberation struggles in the postwar period, they either came out squarely against independence for the colonies and in favour of “their own” bourgeoisies, or else encouraged the oppressed peoples to throw themselves into the open arms of the U.S.S.R. on the pretext of combatting U.S. hegemony. The Chilean example clearly illustrates the results of this kind of policy: they led the working class down a blind alley.
Today, all the revisionists – be they old-style or modern, pro-Soviet or pro-Chinese – have the same political outlook: they all encourage nationalism, even if they invoke different reasons for doing so. Some of them condemn big foreign monopolies, while others campaign frantically against the threat of war and insist that the bourgeoisie counter it through a military buildup.
When it comes to domestic matters, their tactical line is again justified in the name of national interests. They seek to put the national economy back on its feet; or deal with the crisis that is tearing the nation apart; or make the country a “great power” as soon as possible – the goal of the Chinese revisionists. In each case, there is an underlying assumption that capitalism is here to stay and that progress consists in administering it efficiently on a day-to-day basis, solving as rapidly as possible the crises that it has the nasty habit of getting tangled up in on a regular basis.
The working class must guard against these sleight-of-hand artists who claim to want to do away with capitalist exploitation but who adhere to a policy of collaboration with the class whose very raison d’etre resides in the continued existence of capitalism. Sooner or later, they wind up supporting the forces of reaction, if not fascism. History has proven that support for one’s “own” small or middle-sized bourgeoisie against bigger or stronger bourgeoisies in times of serious economic crisis leads to defending the most reactionary kind of policies – voluntary wage controls, no-strike pledges, support for arming the bourgeoisie, and so on.
There has been a steady growth of nationalism in all regions of the world in recent years; the working class must be warned of this danger and remain on its guard against it. Nationalism is a bourgeois and reactionary ideology. It is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the bourgeoisie, which has made regular use of it, since the First World War, to sabotage the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and the masses. Today, there is no getting away from the fact that the best defenders of nationalism in the working-class movement are the revisionists who call themselves Marxist-Leninists and who, for the most part, derive their ideology from the revisionist Chinese party.
Imperialism is once again in serious crisis, and the masses of the people are more and more determined in their refusal to foot the bill. The working-class movement, however, is still almost entirely dominated by reformist leaders who collaborate fully with the bourgeoisie, and especially with their “own” bourgeoisie, in an attempt to bring the economic crisis under control, or to be ready to stand up to the stronger bourgeoisies that threaten national sovereignty, or to prepare to defend the homeland in the event of a new world war.
This is certainly not the kind of political line the working-class movement needs if it is to triumph in the combats that are inevitable in today’s conditions. On the contrary, as long as this line predominates in its ranks, there can be no real victory over the bourgeoisie nor any perceptible progress along the road to revolution. This is strikingly borne out by even the briefest of glances at the past 30 years of world history.
What has been the history of the camp of progress and socialism during this 30-year period? The U.S.S.R., the first socialist country in the history of the world, abandoned the revolutionary road and opted instead for the restoration of capitalism. At the same time, the majority of parties belonging to the Comintern, which constituted the international vanguard of the revolution for the 25 years it existed, degenerated into revisionism. Communist forces came to be characterized by their total lack of unity. Of the two great parties that led the struggle against revisionism in the 1960’s, only the Party of Labour of Albania has remained faithful to Marxism-Leninism. As for the Communist Party of China, it too has opted for the capitalist road in the past few years.
The result? The peoples of the world have shed their blood repeatedly – in the struggle against fascism during the Second World War, and then in the many liberation struggles. that followed. Yet today, imperialism still reigns throughout almost the entire world.
This situation needs to be analysed carefully and thoroughly. It is already quite clear, however, that the struggles of the working class and oppressed peoples cannot result in anything more than partial and temporary victories, as long as they lack proletarian leadership. The proletariat and peoples can never be assured of decisive and lasting victory until imperialism has been utterly banished from the face of the earth, a lesson vividly underscored by the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and China after years and years of socialist construction. Nevertheless, the historic experiences of the Soviet Union, China and Albania indicate that socialist construction is only possible on the basis of genuine proletarian leadership, on the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The history of China and the Soviet Union also indicates that the inevitable result of the defeat of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the restoration of capitalism.
We have the advantage of hindsight when we look at the history of the past 30 years. But our task is not to imagine what could have been – to speculate, for example, on what might have been the result of the antifascist struggle in Europe in the light of what we now know of the revolutionary road it took in Albania, or to surmise how the national liberation struggles in Africa and Asia might have turned out, given what we know happened in China in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Analysing past errors, however, can help us to avoid repeating them. More specifically, in the present situation it can be a weapon in the struggle to eradicate the erroneous conceptions in the working-class movement that gave rise to these errors, for these erroneous conceptions are still present and even dominant in most countries.
In other words, if the changes in the current situation are to lead to progress, the emancipation of the peoples and the elimination of exploitation instead of the renewed expansion of fascism, world war and the consolidation of new powers capable of dominating the entire world, it is vital that the proletariat and progressive forces around the world adopt a correct orientation – a revolutionary orientation.
Lenin stated more than sixty years ago that it is not the task of communists to speculate on the level of class consciousness of the proletariat and masses. He also demonstrated that the victory of the revolution – and he acknowledged that he could not say if it would be achieved during or after a first or a second world war – depended on the fulfilment of two kinds of conditions: the objective conditions and the subjective conditions. The objective conditions occur when the ruling classes are no longer able to govern and the masses no longer accept their rule. The subjective conditions basically involve the level of consciousness and organization of the proletariat and its allies.
It is a fact that in both the imperialist countries and in underdeveloped countries, the working-class movement and the popular forces remain dominated by one form or another of revisionism. In the imperialist countries, old-style revisionism (namely social democracy) and modern revisionism increasingly work hand-in-hand to maintain the working class under the domination of bourgeois ideology – reformism, parliamentary struggle and class collaboration – on the pretext that the present crisis affects all classes in society and that the proletariat and working people will also gain from strengthening the national bourgeoisie in the face of foreign competitors.
It is quite evident that with such a programme, proletarian revolution is postponed; it becomes a vague and distant perspective, when it is not totally rejected as a useless strategy. These people are no longer concerned with class war. What interests them is world peace, either through Soviet-style disarmament or through a united front against the world war, which they say is inevitable, a united front against the “rising” superpower (the “third worldist” codeword for the U.S.S.R.) and the danger of war; a united front which, curiously enough, includes a considerable number of countries that have themselves long been preparing for... war!
It does not take much reflection to realize that this so-called proletarian political line is nothing but a disgusting mask to cover up clear nationalist and chauvinist aims. The continual and growing interference of countries that advocate this line in many parts of the globe where political stability is precarious, is very significant in this respect. So far, we can say that these interventions have, by and large, succeeded in deflecting the struggles of peoples fighting for freedom away from the revolutionary path, from the path of liberation and socialism. In fact, there are very few countries where a Marxist-Leninist party now leads the struggle or is likely to do so in the near future.
The current examples of the struggles of the Iranian, Nicaraguan, Palestinian and southern African peoples confirm this reality all too well. This certainly does not mean that these are not just struggles, or that they do not deserve our support; on the contrary. Nor does it mean that they have nothing to offer the people. They could certainly lighten the burden of the masses and favour a greater industrialization of these countries. Moreover, in cases such as those in southern Africa, they will destroy particularly reactionary and repressive racist regimes.
But these possible successes should not generate any illusions. To really serve the interests of the working people, they must be rapidly followed by profound transformations oriented towards the building of socialism and the achievement of real independence from all forms of imperialism. Otherwise, they will be victories that can easily be transformed into defeats in the same way that many of the economic and democratic victories of the working class are regularly sabotaged by the action of the bourgeoisie and its agents in the working-class movement in the imperialist countries.
We live in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. This is one of the conclusions of Lenin’s analysis that no one in the international communist movement (Marxist-Leninist) has ever questioned. On the contrary, it is repeated more often than not. What is less obvious, however, is whether people are always concerned with drawing the practical conclusions. Indeed, it is clear that this is not the case. Our Organization made this mistake for a long time. This explains why we accepted the “three worlds theory” for such a long time (from our founding congress in December 1974 to July 1977) and why we were hesitant on questions of international politics and more particularly on the question of support for national liberation struggles.
Modern revisionism has completely betrayed Leninism by abandoning proletarian revolution in theory and in practice. And the trend which we call “neo-revisionism”, and which first presented itself under the slogan of “independence and socialism” before adopting that of the “united front against the U.S.S.R.”, has also rejected proletarian revolution as the only solution to the inevitable decay of capitalism at the stage of imperialism.
As happens so often, Lenin has been used to distort Lenin. Lenin took up the call of the Communist Manifesto “Workers of all countries, unite!”, and developed it to say, “Workers of all countries, oppressed peoples and nations, unite!” But if this correct call to action is to lead to a correct political position, it cannot and must not be isolated from the scientific conclusion which sums up the fundamental characteristic of our era, which is that of imperialism and proletarian revolution. The workers of the world and the oppressed peoples and nations must not unite simply to achieve national independence for a particular colony or people, or to defend the independence of the homeland, or to defeat fascism and establish democracy, or to oppose war or this or that superpower. Fundamentally, they must unite to push forward the main revolutionary task: the abolition of capitalist exploitation, the total defeat of imperialism.
All through the 1960’s and up until now, national liberation struggles, struggles for democracy in fascist countries, etc., were presented as struggles that were revolutionary in themselves. Lenin, however, never said any such thing. He even made support for anti-colonial and national struggles conditional on certain circumstances. What we must remember (and the history of the anti-fascist and national liberation struggles from the 1940’s through until the 1960’s is proof of this in practice) is that there is a basic difference between a national liberation struggle whose outcome is the building of a capitalist society dominated by imperialism, and the liberation struggles in China and Albania which in the same era laid the groundwork for building socialism.
Nationalism has undeniably marked the Marxist-Leninist movement substantially in the past thirty years. Nationalism is no more revolutionary in 1979 than it was in 1918 when Lenin denounced it vehemently for having corrupted social democracy and prevented revolution in certain countries where the proletariat had been led to defend the homeland.
Two historical reasons may have contributed to the development of this error. First, the anti-fascist struggle of the 1930’s and the 1940’s united communists and bourgeois elements in many countries. After the war, after Hitler’s defeat, these same communists joined the bourgeoisie in rebuilding the national economy.
Secondly, the postwar years found national liberation and anti-colonial struggles in the forefront. Consequently, it was a period when imperialism was often seen solely as a system for oppressing dominated peoples rather than the highest stage of a mode of production fundamentally based on the exploitation of the proletariat.
It is true that this narrow conception of imperialism suited a lot of people, beginning with those in power in the newly independent countries and the petty bourgeoisie and labour aristocracy which could give themselves socialist, if not revolutionary, airs simply by weeping over the fate of the poor Vietnamese people and by denouncing the U.S. monopolies which disrupted their country’s economy and hindered its further development, and threatened the world with murderous wars. Today the Soviet Union has replaced the United States as the main enemy for some of these opportunists, but the same petty-bourgeois conception of imperialism remains.
This nationalist conception of imperialism furnishes the best pretext for ignoring proletarian revolution as an immediate question everywhere in the world and in particular in imperialist countries, in favour of different “intermediate” struggles and especially the struggle against the “most dangerous superpower” or against the next “inevitable world war”. The “struggles-to-be-waged-while-we’re-waiting” provide a justification for these revisionists to support the “positive actions” of “their” bourgeoisie and of all the other bourgeoisies except for “the most dangerous one”, all in the name of national sovereignty.
But what exactly does it mean to say that proletarian revolution is on the agenda all around the world? Does it mean that the revolutionary process will be exactly the same in the United States, Brazil, Great Britain, South Africa and the Philippines? Of course not! Indeed, it would be rather presumptuous to try to determine in advance the course of the revolution anywhere in the world, because the development of the revolutionary struggle in each country is ultimately determined by the forms the class struggle takes; and these are the result of objective conditions that no one can decide.
Saying that proletarian revolution is on the agenda throughout the world means recognizing first of all that in the era in which we live – when imperialism dominates the entire non-socialist world – only the working class can carry the revolution through to the end, to the abolition of capitalist exploitation. It also means recognizing that even in countries where feudalism still exists and where the democratic revolution may be a necessary preliminary stage before socialist revolution, even in fascist countries where the re-establishment of democracy would represent a considerable step forward, only revolutionary leadership can ensure victory in these struggles, because real victory in these struggles requires destroying the power of Capital in the countries in question. And the proletariat is the only class that has a fundamental interest in putting an end to capitalism.
Lenin reached this conclusion at the turn of the century, and it has since been confirmed on many occasions in both the victories and failures of the revolution. The anti-fascist and national liberation struggles of the past half-century confirm that when these struggles have lacked proletarian leadership, they have been co-opted by the bourgeoisie and imperialism.
People have fallen into a bad habit of separating the struggle against imperialism from the struggle against capitalism. Yet imperialism is a stage of capitalism, not another mode of production. Only socialism can put an end to the capitalist mode of production, including its imperialist stage. Leninism is clear and unambiguous on this point as well. Lenin did not hesitate to admit that the survival of capitalism was a temporary necessity in the early years of the history of the Soviet Union; nor did he hesitate to say that the Russian workers and peasants should first unite to carry out the democratic revolution – the bourgeois revolution against the Czar – and that the proletariat should subsequently continue the struggle to achieve the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In other words, Lenin called a spade a spade, a practice that avoids much of the confusion the revisionists have always so carefully cultivated.
What, indeed, are the revisionists preaching these days? In the imperialist countries, they talk about nationalizing the monopolies, beginning with the foreign ones; defending national sovereignty against domination by stronger powers; and preparing the people to defend the homeland in the event of war. These are all policies that, far from weakening the power of the bourgeoisie, of Capital, tend instead to consolidate it. The difference would seem to be that it is consolidated to the advantage of the local bourgeoisie, at the expense of foreign bourgeoisies. These are policies that have nothing to do with a revolutionary political line.
In underdeveloped countries, the revisionists side with the local capitalists and support the latter’s resistance to the domination of foreign imperialism. This line is not any more revolutionary than the first. Dozens of examples in the past twenty years have shown that, as soon as the local capitalists acquire what seems to be a little power, their first concern is to obtain capital from one or another imperialist bourgeoisie. To do so, they are ready to disarm the people, deprive them of all political liberties and even, in many cases, establish a literally fascist regime.
Given the balance of power between countries in today’s world, one has to be naive indeed to believe that a small, unindustrialized country can hope to free itself from imperialist domination and develop as a capitalist country unless it establishes ties with imperialist powers, thereby inevitably falling back under their control. There are, nevertheless, some people who are, or who pretend to be, this naive. They would like us to believe that capitalism can develop in an underdeveloped country in 1979 in the same way it did in the European countries in the 18th and 19th centuries. They would like us to believe that today, in 1979, there are capitalists who want to “re-invent the spinning wheel” and re-live each stage of the development of competitive capitalism in an attempt to avoid the domination of foreign monopolies. The idea is absurd. Profits are always and everywhere the vital condition for the continued existence of Capital; and those who possess capital have only one concern: to invest and use it profitably. The laws of capital hold true for all capitalists, in all countries.
Saying that proletarian revolution is on the agenda everywhere means affirming that all the peoples subjected to the laws of capital have one and the same goal: the elimination of Capital. This goal can only be achieved under the leadership of the proletariat.
It would be a glaring mistake, however, to take this general affirmation and conclude that “Forward to the dictatorship of the proletariat!” is the only valid call to action, to be applied indiscriminately in all parts of the world. The only call to action that is correct on a world scale is the call to build proletarian leadership. The masses will have many struggles to wage: anti-imperialist and anti-fascist struggles, struggles against repression, general strikes against the rising cost of living and wage controls, struggles against the participation of one’s country in an imperialist war. The specific circumstances of these struggles will vary. But only proletarian leadership can correctly orient all these struggles towards the struggle for socialist revolution.
The stagnation and serious setbacks that have characterized the struggle for socialism since the Second World War cannot be imputed to a lack of struggle on the part of the working class and oppressed peoples. On the contrary – there have undoubtedly been more struggles against imperialism and all the misery it causes in the last thirty years than in any other period in history. The struggle for socialism has stagnated for the past thirty years because the working class and peoples have remained dominated by revisionism, reformism and opportunism. It has stagnated because the vast majority of communist parties abandoned Marxism-Leninism, because the international communist movement fell apart and no longer provided leadership for the progressive forces in the world that were looking for a valid alternative to the dubious theories on the “peaceful transition” to socialism, the “original path” of progress in underdeveloped countries and other such nonsense which the bourgeoisie propagated and encouraged in so many ways.
In this context, the struggle to build socialism – notably in Albania – takes on crucial importance, because socialism in action is the clearest demonstration that therein lies the only solution to the crises of capitalism. This is why, for more than half a century, socialist countries have been the object of constant attacks on the part of imperialism. These attacks have taken many forms: rabid anti-communist propaganda; sabotage within the socialist countries; boycotts and embargoes to deprive their economies of essential products; support for the counter-revolutionary forces in those countries and in the world.
This is also why the imperialists never fail to give revisionism enthusiastic support as soon as it emerges in a socialist country. They did this with Yugoslavia in the 1940’s, and with the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. They are doing it today with the China of Hua and Deng. Never has the bourgeois press been so eager to cover China then since the Eleventh Congress of the CPC in the summer of 1977.
The socialist camp has shrunk considerably in the last twenty years. It would be wrong and deceptive to try and forget this. Above all, it would be very dangerous not to draw the lessons from this evolution, something we will come back to in the fourth chapter of this Report. Nevertheless, the socialist camp does exist; and even were it to be reduced to a single country, it would still be a concrete and living example of the road to liberation from exploitation and oppression for the proletariat and the peoples. This is why the imperialists will never abandon their efforts to wipe socialism off the face of the earth.
As the only European country to have maintained a revolutionary line and to have rejected all compromises, Albania is indeed isolated, a fact underlined by China’s betrayal in July, 1978. This is why the international proletariat has special duties towards Albania. The first is to inform people of what is happening there. In doing this, we must especially avoid presenting that country as heaven on earth, or presenting its party, the PLA, as the one and only infallible party and its principal leader, comrade Enver Hoxha, as the living incarnation of Marxism-Leninism. Although the first disturbing signs of this kind of support have begun to appear, it is wrong. To start with, it is a distortion of the truth. The Albanian people still have to work hard to build their country, as they have ever since the war of liberation almost forty years ago. The PLA has made mistakes, and it has had to purge traitors within its ranks on more than one occasion.
Having clarified this, it should be emphasized that nobody – and certainly not the “three-worldists” of the Canadian Communist League or of any League in any country – will prevent us from affirming that Albania is a country where socialist construction has been going on for more than thirty years. This has meant the development of agriculture, industry, education, health and culture. It has meant that this tremendous development has been achieved without any foreign capitalist investment and has largely surpassed that achieved in countries which have received the booby-trapped financial and technological “aid” of the imperialists. It means that unemployment, inflation, and scandalous income inequalities are unknown in Albania. It means that in Albania, the entire population benefits from the progress accomplished.lt means that capitalism and its inevitable crises have been eliminated. It means that Albania is developing without exploiting the peoples of other countries. It means that Albania is an independent country which does not tolerate any imperialist intrusion in its own affairs... It means that in Albania it is the people that decide its destiny.
Those are sufficient reasons for having the greatest admiration for socialist Albania and for giving it our fullest support, without it being the least bit necessary to pretty up the situation in that country. Albania’s greatest victory is that it has eliminated feudalism and capitalism and that it now spares its people the endless crises of capitalism. It is above all for this reason that it must be supported and defended: it shows the road forward for the world proletariat.
The new period of crises that has engulfed the capitalist and revisionist world since the beginning of the 1970’s has once again confirmed the truth of the conclusion formulated by Lenin after the First World War and the October Revolution. At that time he affirmed, “We are living in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution”. Imperialism is the enemy of the peoples of the world; proletarian revolution is the only road to socialism.
The current imperialist crisis is the worst since the Second World War. During the past 30 years, imperialism managed to minimize the effects of the general crisis of capitalism. To do so, it took advantage of the possibilities offered by the reconstruction of Europe after the war. It put to good use the openings created by the capitalist transformation of the many newly liberated colonies. It turned the revisionist decay of the U.S.S.R. and the Eastern European countries to its own advantage, developed an economy based on war on a permanent basis, and extended the use of credit on a vast scale.
Since the 1960’s, the number of powerful imperialist countries has grown, and the contention among them is intensifying rapidly. In 1945, Japan and West Germany were in ruins; Canada was an imperialist country with very little activity on the world scene and the U.S.S.R. and the Eastern European countries were socialist countries. Today, Japan and West Germany are powerful imperialist countries competing seriously with the United States. The U.S.S.R. is even more aggressive, and is carving out footholds in countries formerly dominated by U.S. or European imperialism. Even Canada is much more ambitious: it is active throughout the world, seeking to conquer new markets and invest capital.
The world is getting too small to satisfy all these vultures, although the fact that China is opening its markets to Western capital and goods will undoubtedly alleviate the situation for a while. The haste with which capitalists from all over the world have been checking into hotels in Beijing (Peking) and Shanghai and striving to conclude trade agreements with this vast country is an indication that current developments in China could not have happened at a better time. Imperialism will benefit, just as it did ten years ago when the U.S.S.R. opened its doors to foreign capital, thus following the example set by Tito’s Yugoslavia in the 1940’s.
It is true that China represents a vast market, with its population of 800 million and its low level of industrialization. But the imperialists will soon saturate it, given that they already have a major problem of overproduction. And in the process, they will hasten (no doubt unwittingly) the day when they will find themselves face to face with a new competitor, just as anxious as they are to export, invest and “aid” the underdeveloped countries – in short, a new competitor hungry for profits. Capitalism develops according to well-known and unchanging laws; and imperialism is the inevitable result for countries that adopt the capitalist road instead of socialist revolution.
The crises of capitalism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution inevitably heighten contradictions between the camp of imperialism and reaction and the camp of socialism and revolution. Faced with the vital necessity of defeating their opponents, the monopolies and the imperialist bourgeoisies intensify the exploitation of the proletariat and the suppression of the masses. Faced with the growing resistance of the masses and the increasing probability of being attacked and overthrown by the revolutionary proletariat, the bourgeois regimes rapidly realize that socialism, proletarian revolution and the communist vanguard are their worst enemies, and make the destruction of these enemies their main objective.
Imperialist wars and fascism are not isolated phenomena; they are direct products of imperialism, decaying capitalism, inter-imperialist rivalries and the relentless and ever-sharper opposition between the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism.
There are many signs of the growing rivalries between imperialist countries: the monetary crisis; inflation; the “energy crisis”; the emergence of opposing blocs of countries; the acceleration of the arms race; and the insurmountable problems encountered by them in working out a modus vivendi in various fields like nuclear arms and international trade. There are also many signs that imperialism intends to solve its problems at the expense of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples and nations: the elimination of democratic rights; the violent repression of working-class and popular struggles; the rise of many new reactionary ideological tendencies; growing anti-communism; and the emergence of military and fascist regimes in an increasing number of countries.
On the other side, there are many indications that the masses of working people are rejecting capitalism and that they aspire fundamentally to a thorough change in this situation: the struggles of oppressed peoples and nations; the seeds of revolutionary wars; the active resistance of the masses subjected to military and fascist regimes; the many battles for democracy and against reaction and repression; and workers’ struggles for better living and working conditions and against the imperialists’ crisis measures.
This situation opens up dazzling possibilities for the world proletariat and the peoples and nations still subjected to the yoke of imperialism – if, that is, they opt for the path of proletarian revolution. Despite the considerable setbacks suffered in the past, despite the many betrayals endured in the struggle of the proletariat and people, despite the fact that the communist movement is still weak in many countries and on the international scale, proletarian revolution is nevertheless still the only way to do away with the misery caused by imperialism. Proletarian revolution is not a hopelessly impossible dream; it is a historic necessity.
The tasks that the revolution imposes are not necessarily the same everywhere, for the prevailing class relations differ considerably from one country to another. In each case, the path of the revolution can only be determined on the basis of an analysis of the specific situation. There can be more than one way to struggle for socialism, for proletarian revolution and socialism are precisely the transition between the present situation, which varies from one country to another, and communism. In every case, however, the correctness of a political line must be evaluated in terms of how it can contribute to the advancement of the proletarian revolution.
Proletarian revolution is on the agenda throughout the world, because it is the only solution to the growing contradictions of imperialism. There are very few countries, however, where a revolutionary situation exists at the present time, although in many others the aggravation of the imperialist crisis could rapidly lead to such a result. Where a revolutionary stiuation exists, no effort should be spared to ensure that the struggle has proletarian leadership. The primary task is the creation of the revolutionary party of the working class in the heat of the people’s struggles to gain political power.
Where there is not yet a revolutionary situation, the struggle to build the camp of the revolution must be waged on other fronts, and first and foremost in the fightback against all the attacks, both economic and political, of the bourgeoisie.
In the world today, the crisis of imperialism affects the working people in all the non-socialist countries to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the specific conditions in the different countries. One obvious result of this crisis is the deterioration in their standard of living. Another is the substantial accentuation of the bourgeoisie’s repressive measures. This should be of vital concern to all communists and all progressive people. The current crisis bears the seeds of a new, worldwide wave of fascism. The masses must be prepared to face this situation, but they must also take up the struggle now to prevent the bourgeoisie from going any further in its denial of democratic rights and its attempts to propagate fascist ideology.
The current crisis also bears the seeds of a new world war. The capitalist and imperialist countries and the superpowers have steadily increased their military spending over the past twenty years. Their frantic arms race is tangible proof that the big powers could drag the world into a third world war at any time. Inter-imperialist wars are the result of the contradictions of capitalism in its advanced stage and, in this sense, are inevitable. But the peoples aspire to peace and progress. They must mobilize and struggle against all the plots and conniving of the bourgeoisie that could well lead to a new war.
There are many struggles in store for the proletariat and the masses, youth, women and oppressed minorities simply to resist the bourgeoie’s attacks on their living and working conditions and their democratic rights. But in the heat of the struggles, it is important not to lose sight of two major phenomena: the rise of fascism and the growing danger of a new world war. It is none too soon to point out that fascism and war are the bourgeoisie’s ultimate solutions for rescuing capitalism from the crisis that plagues it. Nor is it any too soon to warn and mobilize the masses against these dangers. In the event that one or the other, or both, of these dangers becomes a concrete reality, the duty of the proletariat will be to struggle to transform such a situation into a revolutionary situation.
The peoples want neither war nor fascism. It is imperialism that breeds crises; it is imperialism that is responsible for repression and that produces reactionary extreme right-wing and fascist regimes; it is imperialism that unleashes wars. As long as imperialism exists, these scourges will remain a constant threat for the peoples of the world. It is vital that the masses realize this, and adopt a revolutionary proletarian point of view. It is vital that they side with the revolutionary proletariat and join the camp of the revolution and the struggle for socialism.
Up until now, our internationalist work has been quite limited. We only very recently began to really understand just how important this work is. This situation must be rectified. We must realize that there is no contradiction between our tasks in building the party here in Canada and our tasks in the struggle on the international level, including support for the struggles of the international proletariat and oppressed peoples and nations and dynamic participation in the reinforcement of the international communist movement. On the contrary, we will not be able to build a real communist party unless we pay very close attention to these matters.
These conclusions, based on a firm application of Marxism-Leninism to conditions in the world today, must constitute the foundation of our Organization’s work on the international level. More specifically, the following four tasks must lie at the heart of our practical work:
1. Support for socialist construction in the countries where imperialism and the bourgeoisie have been ousted from power.
2. Support for the struggles of the proletariat throughout the world against the bourgeoisie and for the construction of the communist party, in its march towards proletarian revolution.
3. Support for the struggles of oppressed peoples and nations against imperialism; support for the efforts of communists to give these struggles proletarian leadership, the only guarantee of true victory over imperialism, genuine liberation of the peoples and progress towards socialism.
4. Special support for the struggles of the peoples and nations subjected in one way or another to the yoke of Canadian imperialism.
 “Le commerce Canada-Chine”, Bulletin mensuel of the Bank Canadian National, Montreal, October 1978, vol. 54, no. 10
 Revisionist China bases its international policy on what the Communist Party of China calls the “three worlds theory”. The “first world” is supposedly made up of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A., the greatest enemies of the peoples of the world; in practice, China is conducting a frenzied cam¬paign to get U.S. aid in order to become itself a great power. The “second world” is made up according to this schema of the second-rank imperialist countries and the “third world” includes all the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We will deal with this question more thoroughly in Chapter 4 of this Report.
 “Le commerce Canada-Chine”, Bulletin mensuel of the Bank Canadian National, Montreal, October 1978, vol. 54, no. 10
 “Le commerce Canada-Chine”, Bulletin mensuel of the Bank Canadian National, Montreal, October 1978, vol. 54, no. 10
 “Le commerce Canada-Chine”, Bulletin mensuel of the Bank Canadian National, Montreal, October 1978, vol. 54, no. 10
 Crozier, Huntington and Watanuki, The Crisis of Democracy, Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission, N.V., University Press, 1975
 Ibid, p. 157
 Ibid, p. 157
 Ibid, p. 158