Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Statement of political agreement for the creation of the CANADIAN COMMUNIST LEAGUE (MARXIST-LENINIST)

II: A World in Great Turmoil

We are in the epoch of imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, its stage of parasitism and decay. The conditions for revolutionary change, for the transition to a new, higher form of society are ripe. For as Lenin noted, “Imperialism is the eve of socialist revolution.” We are in the epoch of world proletarian revolution of which the revolution in Canada is an integral part.

The general crisis of capitalism on a world scale is deepening, while the fundamental contradictions of imperialism are sharpening. These major contradictions which rock the world today are:

–the contradiction between the oppressed nations on one hand, and imperialism and social-imperialism on the other;
–the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist and revisionist countries;
–the contradiction between the imperialist countries and the social-imperialist country and among the imperialist countries themselves;
–the contradiction between the socialist countries on one hand and the imperialist countries and social-imperialism on the other.[1]

The international situation today is marked by chaos. All of the fundamental contradictions in the world are continually sharpening. This is particularly true of the contradiction between the two superpowers – the United States and the Soviet Union on the one hand, and the peoples of different countries, on the other hand – as well as the contradiction between the two superpowers themselves, as they contend for world hegemony.

The world today is divided into three: the two superpowers form the first world; the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and other areas form the Third World; and the developed countries in between the first and Third World, form the second world.

In his Report on the Activities of Government, presented at the beginning of this year to the Fourth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China Chou En-lai defined the situation as follows:

On the one hand, the trend of revolution by the people of the world is actively developing. Countries want independence nations want liberation and the people want revolution – this has become an irresistable historical current. On the other hand the contention for world hegemony between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, is becoming more and more intense. Their contention has extended to every corner of the world, the focus of their contention being Europe. Soviet social-imperialism makes a feint in the east while attacking in the west!

1. The Historical Development of Three Worlds

What were the major historic developments in the world since the October Revolution in Russia which have led to the present international situation and the division of the world into three?

After 1917, the world was made up of three types of countries – capitalist and imperialist countries, the colonial and dependent countries, and finally the USSR of Lenin and Stalin. After World War II the development of the fundamental contradictions gave rise to a new division of the world into three parts, three worlds.

The war weakened certain imperialist powers and permitted the triumph of socialism in several countries of Europe and Asia, most notably, China. A powerful socialist camp, with the Soviet Union at its head was thus formed (as the second world). This camp faced the capitalist countries, headed by the US (the first world). At the same time, the Third World emerged, formed by countries having achieved or struggling for national independence in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The socialist camp and the international proletariat formed, at that time, the nucleus of a broad united front against imperialism and reaction, headed by the United States.

Great changes, however, came about towards the end of the 50’s and especially in the early 60’s which led to a radical alteration of the division of the world. The socialist countries, China and Albania in particular, achieved tremendous successes in their struggle to build a new society and form a new man. And the national liberation movements continued to grow in strength and win important victories. But the forces of progress and revolution suffered an enormous loss – that of the Soviet Union. With the degeneration of the “CPSU” into a revisionist party, the Soviet Union became a social-fascist dictatorship and a social-imperialist superpower.

Thus, since the beginning of the 60’s, the socialist camp ceased to exist. Most of the former peoples’ democracies of Eastern Europe degenerated into revisionist countries, under the heel of the Soviet Union.

Today we no longer speak of a socialist camp but of the existing socialist countries such as China and Albania, where the communist parties have remained faithful to Marxism-Leninism and where the dictatorship of the proletariat and the construction of socialism is continually being reinforced.

The early 60’s also saw the development of a deep split in the western world, as a result of the uneven development of the imperialist countries. Rivalry between the declining American giant and the other imperialist powers of the western world broke up the imperialist camp.

As US imperialism began to decline, it revealed its true nature in all its horror to the people of the world – perhaps most clearly to the heroic peoples of Indochina. Inside the US, the fire of struggle against capitalist exploitation, national oppression and war was raging.

At the same time, the countries of western Europe, Oceania and Japan built themselves up and underwent new economic development, putting themselves forward as strong competitors to the United States, None of these countries, however, can equal the US, which remains a superpower, contending for world hegemony with the Soviet Union – the other superpower, the rising imperialist force.

Thus, there now exist three worlds which are interconnected and, at the same time, in contradiction to one another: The United States and the Soviet Union form the first world; the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and other regions make up the Third World, and the developed countries between the two make up the second world.

2. The First World is the Source of a New World War

Leninism teaches us that “an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between several Great Powers in the striving for hegemony i.e. for the conquest of territory.” (Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism).

The United States and the Soviet Union are the two hegemonic powers competing to widen their domination over the world: they may at times collude or compromise but this is partial, temporary and relative, dictated by circumstances. It should not fool us about their general contention which is general, long-term and absolute.

The balance of forces between the two is evolving in favour of the Soviet Union. Even though its economic base, for the moment, is weaker than that of the US, the Soviet Union is a young, rising imperialist power. Its aggressive aims, reflected in its vast military build-up, are still hidden behind a signboard of socialism, friendship with the world’s peoples, and the idea of detente. With its socialist facade the Soviet Union tries to fool the people of the world. Domestically, moreover, the social-fascist character of revisionist rule has permitted it to intensify preparations for war by propagating Great Russian chauvinism and militarism among the people.

In short, Soviet social-imperialism is on the offensive. The Soviet Union is whetting its appetite to devour the world, spreading its tentacles to every corner in an attempt to infiltrate into American imperialism’s spheres of influence and replace the United States. The people of the world must be vigilant, and, as the Chinese comrades point out, must guard against the danger of ”letting the tiger in through the back door” while repulsing the wolf through the front gate.”

The United States is still a superpower which, through force, is maintaining numerous strongholds in the world. But it has suffered successive setbacks, and is now making desperate efforts to preserve its hegemonic position.

Strategically, the US has been put on the defensive. The Soviet Union, profiting from each defeat suffered by its rival, is thus the most dangerous power in the world.

Soviet-US rivalry extends to all corners of the globe. The recent events in Asia, Africa and Latin America, in the Middle East and in Europe bear witness to the ever-growing ferocity of their struggle. Consider, for example, the actions of social-imperialism in Angola, where it is trying to foment civil war, in Portugal where it is trying to replace American imperialism, or in South East Asia where it is trying to infiltrate after the US debacle. Consider, too, American diplomatic efforts to control the situation in the Middle East, or recent problems in Cyprus.

All in all, though, it’s Europe which strategically is the key focal point of Soviet-American contention. Europe has the highest concentration of productive forces outside of the two superpowers. The total value of production of the countries of the European Economic Community in 1973 fell between that of the US and (far above) that of the USSR. The US has invested an enormous amount of capital in Europe since the end of the Second World War (a third of their direct foreign investment, according to their official statistics in 1973). The Soviet Union, for its part, enslaves and exploits several countries of Eastern Europe, using all possible means – including military occupation. It uses the Warsaw Pact and the Comecon as instruments for military, political and economic domination.[2]

Thus, whatever superpower controls Europe would be assured of at least temporary supremacy in the struggle to dominate the world. This is why the United States, and even more so the Soviet Union, have concentrated the large part of their armed forces in Europe, via NATO and the Warsaw Pact respectively.

In the last few years the Soviet Union has more or less gained the upper hand over the NATO forces, putting together a complete strategy for encircling and invading Western Europe. On the diplomatic level, it has sung the song of “detente”, “peace” and “security” in every possible key. For its part, the US has launched a political and military offensive in the past year, accelerating its preparations for war in Central Europe.

The recent resolution of the Conference on European Security and Co-operation is nothing but an illusion put forward to mystify the peoples of Europe. As Chou En-lai said:

The two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union are the biggest international oppressors and exploiters today and they are the source of a new world war. Their fierce competition is bound to lead to world war some day. The people of all countries must get prepared. Detente and peace are being talked about everywhere in the world; it is precisely this that shows there is no detente, let alone lasting peace in this world. At present the factors for both revolution and war are increasing. Whether war gives rise to revolution, or revolution prevents war, in either case the international situation will develop in a direction favorable to the people and the future of the world will be bright. (Chou En-lai, Report on Government Activities presented January 13, 1975 to the first session of the PRC. Peking Review No 4 January 1975)

3. The Third World – A Great Revolutionary Force

The hegemonic designs of the United States and the Soviet Union will not succeed. It is not one or two superpowers that will decide the fate of humanity, but the peoples of the world – millions of people, more of them awakening everyday, everyday growing stronger.

The Third World constitutes the main force in the revolutionary struggle waged by the peoples of the world against colonialism, imperialism and in particular, against the two superpowers – it is the greatest motive force for the progress of world history. The formation and development of the Third World is the result of the convergence of two major historical currents of our time – the socialist revolutionary movement and the national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. China is a socialist, developing country belonging to the Third World. It contributes a great deal to the strengthening of the unity of the countries and peoples of the world in their struggle against imperialism.

The peoples of all Third World countries from the large and populous to the small and weak ones, have suffered bitterly under years of brutal exploitation and oppression. Through prolonged resistance to this oppression they have become steeled in struggle and determined to overthrow imperialism and the remnants of colonialism.

The recent historic victories of the Indochinese peoples, the victories of the people of Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Angola, the liberation movement of the peoples of Southern Africa and the struggle of the Palestinian people demonstrate quite clearly the powerful and irresistable force of people’s war.

Politically the countries of the Third World have finally taken their rightful place in the international arena. They presently constitute the overwhelming majority in the United Nations and are causing great changes inside all international organizations.

The Third World peoples and countries are leading a worldwide struggle against imperialist exploitation, pillage and control, and above all, against the two superpowers who continually are trying to make them shoulder the burden of the capitalist crisis. The peoples of the Third World are demanding the establishment of a new international economic order. Following the example of the oil-producing countries they have created new organisations of resource-producing countries. They have also tightened their control over trans-national companies and have turned more and more towards nationalization as a means of gaining control of their economies. In addition, there has been a rapid development in economic co-operation between the developing countries of Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and elsewhere.

Numerous conferences of Third World countries and of the United Nations have been held dealing with the questions of co-operation and development. These conferences have permitted the Third World countries to put forward their demands against imperialism and hegemonism, and to reinforce and strengthen their unity.

The present struggles of the Third World prove, with each passing day, that the people of these countries, provided they unite and dare to struggle will certainly defeat imperialism, and the two superpowers in particular.

4. Second World Countries: Unite Together and Ally with the Third World Against the Superpowers

The second world (of which Canada is a part) is in an intermediary situation. It is made up of many capitalist powers which vary in importance and strength such as Japan, European countries, Canada and Australia as well as the revisionist countries of Eastern Europe, which have been reduced to a state of dependence by the Soviet Union:

The case of the developed countries in between the superpowers and the developing countries is a complicated one. Some of them still retain colonialist relations of one form or another with Third World countries. At the same time all these developed countries are in varying degrees controlled, threatened or bullied, by one superpower or the other. Some of them have in fact been reduced by a superpower to the position of dependencies under the signboard of its so-called ’family’. In varying degrees, all these countries have the desire of shaking off superpower enslavement or control and safeguarding their national independence and the integrity of their sovereignty.” (Teng Hsiao-ping at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly, April 10, 1974)

The imperialist countries of the second world struggle to maintain, if not extend, their positions and their influence in the world. But they have met with little success. On the contrary, more and more they are advocating the need for dialogue with the Third World countries and are seeking co-operation with them. A good example of this is the Lome Agreement concluded last February which regroups 46 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries with the European Economic Community on the basis of equality and mutual advantage.

This positive evolution of the second world countries results from their inability to remain indifferent to the superpowers’ attempts to dominate the world. All these countries suffer, to varying degrees, from the control, threats or bullying of one or both of the two superpower. They thus all seek to resist and oppose this superpower pressure.

This explains why these countries are struggling to unite among themselves. This is especially true in Western Europe, which is directly threatened by a war between the US and USSR. It is in the interest of the peoples of these countries to unite, to strengthen their independence, put up a common resistance to the expansionist aims of the two superpowers, in particular those of the Soviet Union and to push back the threat of a new world war.

By opposing hegemonism, by uniting together, and by joining with the Third World, the second world countries are contributing, again to varying degrees, to the isolation of the two superpowers, and thus to their ultimate defeat and to the overthrow of the world imperialist system. In this respect, the struggle of the East and West European people for national independence is of great importance.

Canada, as a second world country, has so far played an ambiguous, back-seat role. On the one hand, Canada opposes the plunder perpetrated by the superpowers (limitation of oil and natural gas exports to the US, struggle for the 200 nautical mile-limit temporary closing of the Atlantic ports to the Soviet fishing fleet), seeks to co-operate with the Third World and is trying to develop relations with the European Economic Community. On the other hand, Canada is hesitant to speak in support of the Third World at international conferences and at the UN and is trying to increase its exploitation of the Third World. Moreover, Canada doesn’t really have an autonomous military defense system, but is linked militarily to the United States by the NATO and NORAD Treaties.

We have to fight to make the Canadian people aware of the danger of war, to prepare them for this eventuality. We have to fight for Canada, as a second world country, to join the world united front against the two superpowers, particularly to block their war preparations. We must also unite more closely with other second world countries and peoples in the struggle against Soviet and US hegemonism.

We have to develop an active solidarity with the people and countries of the Third World, firmly supporting the national liberation and anti-imperialist struggles of the Third World peoples.

These internationalist responsibilities are of particular importance today, when the superpowers are pushing the world to war.

But, our greatest contribution to the cause of the international proletariat still remains the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in our own country. This task demands the closest unity of the Canadian proletariat with the proletariat of all countries and the people of all oppressed nations of the world in order to share our experiences and offer mutual aid and support in our common struggles.

We must also unite with all the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations to defeat modern revisionism. We support the socialist countries such as China and Albania, especially by popularizing their experiences in building socialism.

Finally, as Canadian Marxist-Leninists, one of our particular internationalist duties is to denounce and combat the actions of Canadian imperialism everywhere in the world, and particularly in the Third World, actively supporting the peoples in struggle against it.

At the present time, the people of the world, including the people of the US and the Soviet Union are increasingly forming a world united front against colonialism, imperialism and in particular against the two superpowers; countries of the Third World constitute the main force of this united front.


[1] See Peking Review, No. 35, 1971

[2] The Wasaw Pact is a military alliance, and the COMECON an economic one, which is made up of East European countries and dominated by the Soviet Union.