Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Red Star Collective

The International Situation: World United Front & Proletarian Revolution

The Question of War – Inevitable or Not

The fact that both the United States and the Soviet Union are attempting to strengthen their positions in Europe and are actively preparing for war there, is generally accepted within the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement. There are divergent positions, however, as to whether or not such a war is imminent and whether it can be prevented.

It is certainly true that so long as imperialism exists, the danger of world war exists and that revolution is the only way to end the system of imperialism. In the event the system continues, war will certainly result. But the outbreak of world war is neither imminent nor absolutely inevitable. There are factors that, although they themselves cannot prevent war in the long term, can be used to postpone war and thus give the refolutionary forces time to build their strength. And it is the revolutionary forces that can prevent war by ending the imperialist system.

There are factors in Europe, the place where the war will likely take place, that contribute to the postponement of war.

Albania, the only socialist country of Europe, stands in opposition to both of the superpowers, and all other imperialists, and firmly allies itself with the forces of proletarian revolution and national liberation. Any country invading Albania would find itself fighting against the entire people.

We have already noted the Soviet domination over most of the countries of the Warsaw Treaty Organization. However, Rumania maintains a nominal independence, and the ruling class has acted in accordance with its own interest, not necessarily allied to those of the Soviet bourgeoisie.

Yugoslavia is a capitalist country belonging to neither NATO nor the WTO. The Yugoslav bourgeoisie is actively building up a strong militia in self-defence.

As we have pointed out, the situation of the Western European countries is somewhat more complicated. Although the ruling classes of the Western European countries have contradictions amongst themselves, they are in alliance against the Soviet Union. As well, they have some contradictions which can lead them to oppose the United States in some ways.

Several countries of Western Europe are not part of NATO and are building an independent defence. Sweden,Switzerland, and Austria, for example, maintain large militias and intend to maintain their independence. France co-operates with NATO but is not part of the NATO allied command. And France maintains an independent nuclear force.

In addition to the country of Albania, there are also some important conscious forces for revolution in other parts of Europe. Although still small (and in some cases divided) with limited influence in the working class, they are growing. Not only are there genuine Marxist-Leninist organizations and Parties in the Western European countries, but in the Eastern European countries as well. Poland for example, has a Marxist-Leninist Party. Even within the Soviet Union itself, fierce repressive measures are necessary to control opposition to the state-capitalist bourgeoisie.

Outside of Europe the revolutionary struggles of the Third World against imperialism are a massive growing force. The peoples of Azania (South Africa), Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), the Phillipines, Chile, Eritrea, the Palestinians, etc. are struggling for liberation from imperialism and thus weakening the domination of the superpowers.

Countries of the third world which have recently had national liberation struggles and are consolidating their victories independent of the superpowers, such as Canbodia and Laos, also provide firm opposition to the superpowers. And the Peoples Republic of China continues its support for a world united front and staunchly opposes all forms of imperialism. In addition to these consistent opponents to the superpowers, other third world countries to varying degrees conflict with imperialist domination. In this way even the Shah of Iran and Marcos of the Phillipines are capable of limited and temporary contributions to the world untied front.

Outside of Europe in the developed countries including the US, the Marxist-Leninist movement, so long laid waste by the betrayal of the Soviet Union, is re-emerging. In Canada, too, the struggle to build a Party has made important strides in the past few years.

All of these forces are in opposition to the superpowers, and are forces which either aid in the postponement of war or directly in the building of revolutionary opposition to the imperialist system.

Another factor that indicates that war is not immediately imminent is the military balance between the Warsaw Treaty Organization and the NATO forces. (See Table.) Even though the forces of the WTO are somewhat stronger in Europe they do not outweigh the NATO forces by a great extent. It is true there are greater WTO quantities of almost everything, from troops and tanks to aircraft. But NATO equipment is considered to be of higher quality and the men better trained, and this to some extent compensates for quantity.

With the present balance, aggressive attack would be dangerous for either the SU or the US. However, we must be very clear on this subject and not let ourselves be fooled into thinking peace can be maintained by a “balance of forces”. As the Chinese have pointed out:

“Since both superpowers are after world domination, the contradiction between them is irreconcilable; one either overpowers the other or is overpowered. The so-called balance of power even if it exists, is only a transient and superficial one. It will not do to depend on a ’balance of power’ or a so-called ’balance of terror’ for maintaining peace.” (PR #40, 1975, p. 11) Our point in drawing attention to this “balance” is to show that the SU and the US may hesitate in starting war. But both superpowers are preparing for war and given this contention the “balance of forces” cannot remain indefinitely. Nonetheless, revolutionary forces must take advantage of every postponement of war, no matter how short, to strengthen themselves for revolution.

Marxist-Leninists must take advantage of the present situation in order to prepare the people for war. We must do active propaganda work on the growing danger of war between the superpowers and do everything to lead the people in struggle against it and against the hegemonic aims of the superpowers. Revolutionaries must build the factors of revolution to struggle against the factors of war!