Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Red Star Collective

The International Situation: World United Front & Proletarian Revolution

Albania’s Position on the International Situation

We had originally planned to make some comment on the Albanian position as it appeared in “Reports Submitted to the 7th Congress of the PLA”. However,since that time an editorial in Zeri i Popullit has appeared which considerably expands on the difference between the Albanian analysis and the Three Worlds analysis. Because of the developing importance of this difference in the international Marxist-Leninist debate, and because it allows us to clarify what the Three Worlds analysis is and is not, we have chosen to deal with the position presented by Albania in more depth.

The position of the PLA is a direct attack on the analysis of the world process formulated by Mao Tse-tung. Unfortunately, to advance its point of view, the PLA has found it necessary to make absurd and slanderous accusations such as that of the 3 worlds theory being Khruschovite revisionism. Such an accusation can be made only by ignoring the substance of the 3 worlds theory. A clear example of this method of debate is in the “confusion” between the terms “socialist camp” and “socialist system”. The PLA position attributes to the defenders of the 3 worlds analysis the clearly incorrect notion that socialism and the socialist system no longer exist, whereas in fact what we say is that the socialist camp has ceased to exist. For the defenders of the 3 world analysis, this has great impact on a world scale, even if it left socialism intact in certain countries. The Albanian position,however,is unable to distinguish these two quite seperate levels of contradiction and analysis.

This position opposes any support on the part of Marxist-Leninists for actions by second and even third world countries to oppose the superpowers. Again confusing planes of contradiction the Albanian comrades claim that to support,for example, Zaire’s repulsion of the SU aggression means demanding of the Zairese people that they bow before the internal ruling forces and give up the struggle to advance the revolution within Zaire.

All of this is based on assertions of general revolutionary purity and zeal. All distinctions,any concrete examination of the world as a process is tossed overboard for nothing matters but “the basic contradiction, that between the revolution and the counter-revolution.”

This amounts only to revolutionary posturing and is foreign to the method of Marx,Engels, Lenin,Stalin and Mao. It ignores the fact that the world as a process has its own dynamic apart from that of each country. It rejects the Marxist principle of uniting the many to defeat the few, of defining the main enemy and promoting the unity of all which can be united against it. In our present world this unity weakens the superpowers and advances conditions for the achievement of socialism and communism in all countries. In ignoring the fact that the ruling classes in 2nd and 3rd world countries have a dual character the PLA is reduced to a “good guys – bad guys” approach which pits the consistent revolutionary forces against all of their enemies – both main and secondary, both immediate and long-term.

This “left” posturing can, in fact, have disastrous consequences. In the concrete cases of Zaire or a European country faced with attack by the superpowers it preaches non-involvement in clashes between our enemies and thus in practice advocates capitulation to the most vicious and aggressive powers of our time. All talk of defending the revolution, Marxism-Leninism . etc., cannot change this fact.

Many statements from the Zeri i Popullit editorial seem to be quoted from some source, but the source is not identified, and we therefore cannot comment on its “reliability” or otherwise. In any event we are interested in stating our own position and not defending indiscriminately that of another country or organization.

All page numbers which follow refer to the Bolshevik Union’s publication Lines of Demarcation (Special Edition)July, 1977. We will quote extensively so that those unfamiliar with the document can understand the context of our response. On page two the article states:

Following the triumph of the socialist revolution in Russia, Lenin and Stalin spoke about four such contradictions: the contradiction between two opposing systems – socialist and capitalist; the contradiction between labour and capital in the capitalist countries;the contradiction between the oppressed peoples and nations and imperialism; the contradictions between imperialist powers. These are the contradictions which constitute the objective basis of the development of the present day revolutionary movements, which in their entirety,constitute the great process of the world revolution in our epoch.

The three worlds analysis is inseparable from the understanding of the four fundamental contradictions of the present time and is not in disagreement with the Albanians on this point. However, on page 5 the article states that the three worlds analysis “ignores socialism” .This is incorrect both because of support for the analysis of the four contradictions and because the three worlds analysis is a tool aimed at the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship on a world basis. Throughout, the article ignores the fact that advocates of the three worlds analysis also support the theory of the existence of four fundamental contradictions operating on a world scale.

On page three the article accuses the “so-called ’theory of the three worlds’ of ”calling on the world proletariat not to fight, not to rise in socialist revolution. As the contradiction between labour and capital is recognized in the four contradictions, and the three worlds theory in no way opposes the revolutionary struggles of the world proletariat and peoples. We agree with the Albanians that if it did so, it definitely would be revisionist.

The accusation continues on page six, where they claim that according to the three worlds theory “the fundamental contradiction between the proletariat and the bougeoisie does not exist” and that “it ignore; the contradiction between the oppressed peoples and the reactionary and pro-imperialist forces of their own countries”. The three worlds theory is a global analysis, that is it deals with interaction between states. It does not deny internal contradictions within states, nor the necessity for struggle against internal reactionary force The three worlds theory is founded on oppsition to imperialism and sees Soviet and US imperialism as the main enemy. It is therefore in direct opposition to pro-imperialist forces. Any support of any kind for bourgeois classes must be based on opposition to the superpowers and must under no condition involve support for the imperial ventures of that bourgeoisie. Neither does the opposition of the bourgeoisie to the superpowers obligate the proletariat “not fight,not to rise in socialist revolution”. (ibid)To abandon the revolutionary struggle internal to a country on the pretext of oppossing the superpowers will be a mechanical erroneous application of a theory of international forces to a national level.

Speaking of national liberation struggles, the editorial points out that: “It is absurd to pretend that one must fight only against the external imperial enemies without at the same time, fighting and attacking the internal enemies the allies and collaborators of imperialsism, and all those factors which hinder this struggle. To this day there has never been any liberation struggle, no nation; democratic and anti-imperialist revolution has taken place,without having internal enemies, reactionaries and traitors, sold-out anti-nationalist elements.”(p 4) This is perfectly correct. However, the paragraph continues:

“There cannot be identified all strata of the bourgeoisie without exception,including the compradore bourgeoisie as anti-imperialist forces,as a basis and factors which carry forward the struggle against imperialism, as the so-called theory of the ’three worlds’ does”, (our emphasis) With these statements the editorial accuses the three worlds theory of errors that are in fact in direct contradiction to it. The calling of a world united front against the superpowers, by definition excludes those forces which support imperialism,such as the traitorous comprador elements.

This is a general position on the comprador bourgeoisie. It does not exclude supporting the specific actions of these bourgeoisies which do oppose imperialism, however infrequently they occur. We denounce the generally traitorous nature of the comprador bourgeoisie and support whatever of their actions which objectively oppose imperialism.

And far from making “seperate (the national liberation struggles) from the proletarian revolution in the other countries” (ibid) the three worlds analysis identifies these struggles as united in their opposition to imperialism, and calls upon the proletariat of the capitalist countries to support the revolutionary struggles of the third world, even if they are being fought against their “own” bourgeoisie.

On page four the article brings up the example of the Shah of Iran, attacking those who support arms transactions between the Shah and the US as part of the fight against imperialism. In order to understand a correct approach to the question of Iran, it is necessary to remember: a)that a state’s opposition to the superpowers can be supported without supporting its reactionary internal regime, and b) the united world front does not involve formal membership, but rather describes those forces in opposition to the superpowers at a given time. With this in mind we can determine that any resistance the Shah offers to the superpowers is a progressive thing,while his exploitation and oppression of the peoples of Iran is an extremely reactionary thing and Marxist-Leninists must give the struggle of the peoples against this regime their firm support. And furthermore, arms negotiations with the US does not constitute opposition to the superpowers. Anyone touting this as such, under the guise of supporting the theory of the three worlds,is practicing harmful deception.

Similar accusations are launched at the theory of the three worlds throughout the article. On page five the theory is falsely denounced as failing to make “any distinction between the genuine anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces and the pro-imperialist, reactionary and fascist forces in power. Again,this criticism is based on the incorrect assumption that relations between countries on a state level define the tasks of the revolutionary forces on an internal level.

The editorial quotes from Enver Hoxha’s, “Report at the 7th Congress of the PLA”:

The terms ’third world’,’non-aligned status’ or ’developing countries’ create the illusion among the broad masses fighting for national and social liberation that a roof has allegedly been found under which to shelter from the threat of the super powers. These terms conceal the real situation in the majority of these countries, which, in this or that manner, politically, ideologically and economically, are bound to,and depend on, the two superpowers and the former colonial metropolises. (p.5,Editorial)

But on the contrary,the three worlds theory,linked with the four contradictions, clearly points out the need to struggle against the superpowers and all other imperialist powers. It advocates the uniting of all forces on a world level opposed to the superpowers,and supports the revolutionary struggles of all the world’s peoples against feudalism, imperialism, and the bourgeoisies of the capitalist countries of the world.

On page five the article suggests that there is no difference between the revolutionary three worlds theory,and the phoney theories of collaboration with imperialism. Both, it claims,advocates “hand-outs” to the developing countries “so that they will be able to pick up some sort of livelihood and not raise their heads. In this way,they say, a middle road will be found, ’a new international order’ will be established, in which all rich and poor, exploiters and the exploited, will live ’without wars’, ’without armaments’, ’in unity’, ’in class peace’ in a la Khruschovite co-existence.”

This can be based on only the most distorted interpretation of the three worlds theory. The three worlds theory, and the four fundamental contradictions are established on the understanding that the threat of war cannot be thoroughly eliminated until imperialism itself is eliminated, and no songs of “detente” or “class peace” can change this reality. But the fact that imperialism itself must be destroyed to end war,does not mean that gains cannot be made by forces in opposition to the superpowers that may postpone war, perhaps even postpone it so that the revolutionary forces can triumph before a third war,smashing the bourgeoisie’s rule everywhere and the imperialist system which inevitably breed war.

Also on page six is the clear evidence that the article is criticizing the three worlds analysis on the basis that it is in opposition to the theory of the four fundamental contradictions, when in fact the two are linked. According to the article:

Not only does the theory of the ’Three Worlds’ not take account of the contradiction between the two opposing social systems – socialism and capitalism, or the great contradiction between labour and capital, but neither does it analyse the other major contradiction,that between the oppressed peoples and world imperialism, which it reduces to the contradiction with the two superpowers only, and indeed mainly with one of them. This ’theory’ totally ignores the contradiction between the oppressed peoples and nations and the other imperialist powers.

Further on this page, the editorial criticizes the position which advocates an alliance with US imperialism to defeat Soviet social-imperialism. We are aware that some people[1] are proponents of this line and that William Hinton has done the Chinese comrades the disservice of interpreting their position in this manner. This must be resolutely struggled against.[2] Domination by one superpower is not preferable to domination by another. Nor can such “unholy alliances” contribute to the advancement of world history. The task of the era is to defeat all imperialism, not prop up one imperialist superpower to defeat another.

On page six we find:

The present day facts speak not of disintegration of the imperialist world, but of a single world imperialist system, which is characterized today by the existence of two big imperialist blocs: on the one hand ,by the Western imperialist bloc, headed by US imperialism the instruments of which are such inter-imperialist organisms such as NATO, the European Common Market,etc., and on the other hand, by the bloc of the East dominated by Soviet social imperialism, which has as the instruments of its expansionist, hegemonistic and warmongering policy the Warsaw Treaty and Comecon.

This ignores the qualitative difference between imperialist countries. It ignores both the difference between the superpowers,the only imperialist powers capable of vying for hegemony in the world, and the other imperialist powers and the difference in relationships among the imperialist countries with the superpowers. It overlooks contention between imperialist powers and sees this existing only between “two big imperialist blocs”.

An example of the weakness of this position can be seen in their analysis of the EEC. From pages 163 and 170 of the “Report Submitted to the 7th Congress of the PLA”:

The operation of the law of uneven political and economic development of capitalist countries drew the Common Market, Japan, Canada and others into the arena of the struggle for markets and privileges and of challenging US domination in the sphere of capital export. (P 163)

In the international arena,the Common Market is a big neo-colonial power which not only competes with the superpowers for the exploitation of the developing countries,but endeavours to regain and maintain the old privileges of the former colonial powers in these countries. (p. 170, Report. emphasis ours.)

In these two quotes it is clear the position,unlike that of the editorial in Zeri i Popullit, is that the EEC is in opposition to the superpowers. However,even within the same “Report”,this accurate description of the role of the EEC is contradicted by a statement more in line with the Albanian “two bloc” analysis:

“In the Common Market, US imperialism has had and still has a powerful support against the social-imperialist bloc. Together with NATO,the Common Market constitutes an organized base and rear area of US imperialism in its rivalry and contest with the other imperialist power, the revisionist Soviet Union”, (p 171) The contradiction between the Albanian line and reality is thus manifested in the contradictions within their argument.

When the article does recognize contradictions between second world countries and the superpowers,it is seen only as one aspect, that of:

contradictions of an inter-imperialist character,as are also the contradictions between the two superpowers themselves. In the first place,they are contradictions over markets,spheres of influence, zones for the export of capital, and the exploitation of the riches of others, of such imperialisms as the West German, Japanese, British, French, Canadian ones,etc., with one or the other superpower,as well as with one another. (p.6, Editorial.)

Thus there is no recognition of the contradiction between the domestic interests of the second world countries and the superpowers, the opposition the former have to superpower control over domestic markets, production, etc .The qualitative difference between the superpowers and the other imperialist powers in this respect is ignored, i ,e .the article ignores the fact that only the superpowers threaten the sovereignty of the second world countries, while no country threatens either of the superpowers in like manner.

The above quote also ignores the progressive nature of second and third world trade agreements. Not all trade is bad,or serves imperialism .Where trade is unequal, benifitting only one country,then it must be denounced and struggled against. When trade agreements of an equal nature are made between countries of the second and third worlds,they should be supported as opposition to superpower domination of trade through unequal agreements which forces dependence on them.

The article goes on to say: “History since the Second World War shows that these countries have supported and still support the aggressive policy and acts of US imperialism such as in Korea and Vietnam, the Middle East, Africa,etc .They are ardent defenders of neo-colonialism and of the old order of inequality in inter-nation economic relations. The allies of Soviet social-imperialism in the “second world” took part, jointly with it, in the occupation of Czechoslovakia and are zealous supporters of its predatory expansionist policy in various zones of the world.The countries of the socalled “second world” are the main economic and military support of the aggressive and expansionist alliances of the two superpowers” .(p 6) In this way the varying nature of the second world countries is ignored. As we have stated earlier,the bourgeoisie of some countries are too closely allied to one or the other superpower to oppose them. This is the case in the Soviet-dominated East European countries,and in the Canadian bourgeoisies alliance with US imperialism .The general nature of these countries is such that they will not be a part of the world united front. However,the interests of the peoples of these countries lies in opposing the superpowers, and the task of Marxist-Leninists is to lead the proletariat in struggle against all imperialism, including the imperialist nature or aspects of the bourgeoisie of their own country.

The article attacks the three worlds theory for “forgetting the main thing – the increase of the revolutionary spirit and the development of the revolutionary movement of the working people and the peoples, neglecting the preparation of the revolution” If the upholders of the three worlds analysis forgot this it would indeed constitute “total opposition to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism”.(p 7) But this criticism is based on the unfounded attack we dealt with above, that the three world adherents oppose the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and peoples of the world. The struggle for socialism is not in contradiction with the struggle against the superpowers. It is only when socialism has been established in all countries and transformed into communism that we can be thoroughly free of all threats of imperialism, from old and new sources.

The editorial denounces the three worlds advocates because supposedly:

They claim that US imperialism is allegedly no longer warmongering, that allegedly it has been weakened,is in dedecline, that it has become a ’timid mouse’,in a word,US imperialism is turning peaceful. Matters have reached the point that even the US military presence in various countries such as Germany, Belgium or Italy, in Japan and other countries is being justified and described as a force for defence.(p 8)

In fact this is not the three worlds theory but a deviation from it. The three worlds analysis clearly isolates the two countries as superpowers,and supports opposition to both superpowers .To state that the SU is the more dangerous is a recognition of the unequal development of the two,and the SU’s ability to pose as a socialist country. Alliance with US imperialism would represent a reactionary development serving the purpose of strengthening one superpower rather than defeating both.

We have not dealt with every inaccurate attack the editorial in Zer i Populitt makes against the three worlds analysis as the same arguments are repeated over and over throughout the paper. We hope that in responding to the Albanian’s representation of what the three worlds theory is not that we will have contributed to an understanding of what it is.


[1] We are not familiar with any Canadian individuals or groups putting forward this position.

[2] We recommend reading J. Scott’s Discussions with Chinese Comrades which is available from the RSC.