First Published: The Forge, Vol. 4, No. 35, October 12, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In the first article in this two-part series (The Forge, No. 34, p. 11) we looked at the revolutionary struggles in the third world and their importance for the world socialist revolution.
This article examines how the working class wins leadership of these battles and heads the struggle for New Democracy.
In numerous third-world countries the working class, led by its communist ,party, is standing at the head of the people in the struggle against imperialism and feudalism and is carrying forward the new democratic revolution.
The communist-led people’s armies in these countries are winning victories in the armed struggle. Liberated zones have been set up in Kampuchea, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia and around the world.
The revolutionary struggle in the third world must pass through two stages. The objective mission of the first period is to toss out the imperialists and their local agents, including the feudal landowners and the comprador capitalists, in order to build a democratic and independent country.
Only the success of this struggle can pave the way for the revolution to develop to the second stage, the socialist revolution.
Within the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and feudalism many different forces in third-world countries can play a role. They include the peasants, the urban petty bourgeoisie and even elements of the national bourgeoisie who find themselves in contradiction with imperialism and feudalism.
But if the first stage of the revolution is to be carried through to final victory and complete and total liberation, working-class leadership is key.
The proletariat is the most revolutionary class the world has ever seen, and led by its communist party it can give consistent leadership to the struggle. When the working class wins the direction of the bourgeois democratic revolution in the third-world countries, it becomes a struggle for new democracy which, when successful, opens the road to socialism and true salvation for the people.
Mao Zedong, who led the successful revolution in China, said that the new democratic revolution “is an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution of the broad masses of the people under the leadership of the proletariat.” (The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 327)
In 1940, nine years before liberation, he wrote that democracy will not result in the establishment of a capitalist society under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, “but will result in the establishment of a new democratic society under the joint dictatorship of all the revolutionary classes of China headed by the Chinese proletariat. The revolution will then be carried forward to the second stage, in which a socialist society will be established In China.” (On New Democracy, (Ibid, p. 347)
During the new democratic revolution in China before liberation in 1949, a thriving new democratic society was set up in the liberated zones. They provided the strong bases that ensured the success of the revolution.
Today in Thailand, the Philippines and other countries where the new democratic revolution is well advanced, new democratic societies have also been set up in the liberated areas. These societies give full rights to the people and ensure complete democracy. The imperialists are expropriatcd and the lands is given back to the peasants.
“Politically,” said Mao Zedong, describing new democracy “it strives for the joint dictatorship of the revolutionary class over the imperialists, traitors and reactionaries, and opposes the transformation of Chinese society into a society under bourgeois dictatorship.
“Economically, it aims at the nationalization of all big enterprises and capital of the imperialists, traitors and reactionaries, and the distribution among the peasants of the land held by the landlords, while preserving private capitalist entreprise in general and not eliminating the rich-peasant economy.” (The Chinese Revolution and the Communist Party, Ibid, p. 327)
With the victory of the democratic revolution the period of socialist revolution opens. This is what happened in China, for example, when the country was liberated and the new democratic revolution was victorious in 1949.
However, as the first stage draws to a close and the revolution must advance to the second stage, inevitably a struggle breaks out between those forces who want the bourgeoisie to take over and build capitalism, and the proletariat and the other revolutionary forces who are going to build socialism.
This is why Mao Zedong explained that with the beginning of the socialist revolution the principal contradiction changes, as it did in China in 1949, and now opposes the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
In China, the proletariat won the battle and led the struggle for a truly independent and socialist country under the dictatorship of the proletariat, pointing the way forward for the people of the world.
In the final analysis, it is only the working class, armed with its three powerful weapons, – the communist party, the united front and the revolutionary army – that can lead the peoples of the third world to victory in the new democratic and socialist revolutions and really free their countries from imperialist domination.