Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

MINP-El Comité

Editorial: On the Chinese Invasion of Vietnam

First Published: Obreros En Marcha, Vol. 4, No. 2, April 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In late February, Chinese troops invaded Vietnamese territory. Part of the invading force continues, as of today, to control portions of Vietnam. This action by the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party is a blatant violation of proletarian internationalism and has been condemned by progressives and revolutionaries throughout the world. We have joined in that condemnation.

For some years now, the once united international communist movement has been experiencing a process of ideological fragmentation. In the last decade in particular, the contradiction within the socialist camp has assumed an antagonistic character. The Chinese invasion of Vietnam is a manifestation of this development. The rise of the antagonistic contradiction can only serve to prolong imperialism’s existence as a social-economic system.

For the past few years, China’s foreign policy and definition of strategic allies has violated in theory and practice the Marxist-Leninist principles of proletarian internationalism. These deviations have their roots in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CPC) position which holds that the Soviet Union is the main enemy of humanity and that therefore U.S. imperialism is a lesser danger.

Guided by this view, the Chinese leadership supported the CIA-backed nationalist movement in Angola, and continues to support the military dictatorships in Latin America (such as the Pinochet regime in Chile), the deposed Shah of Iran and Mobutu in Zaire. China’s leadership also prodded the Pol Pot regime in Kampuchea to take belligerent action in the Kampuchean-Vietnamese border disputes. In all these situations, China has objectively aligned itself with U.S. imperialism.

But for our organization, and for all communists, to condemn the Chinese invasion of Vietnam is not our only political task. A more difficult responsibility is to examine the course that class struggle is taking in China and the theoretical and practical consequences of the Chinese actions for the consolidation and victory of socialism internationally.

The international communist movement has many difficulties to surmount in its life and death struggle with imperialism. One of these difficulties is the struggle to build socialism in societies saddled with underdeveloped economies. This raises serious questions for the international communist movement, questions related to the broad theoretical, economic, ideological and political problems posed by the task of building socialism in an underdeveloped country where industrialization is very limited, where the socialization of production is limited, where a large portion of the population is peasants and where imperialism narrows all avenues for economic interchange. China is an example of such a society. The current state of the Chinese revolution cannot he examined outside this context.

When viewing the class struggle within China, we think it is important to examine such questions as the roots and consequences of the cultural revolution; the conceptions of economic development underlying the policy of the “four modernizations”; the history and character of the ideological struggles among the masses, between the masses and the CPC, and within the CPC itself; and the roots of the “three worlds” theory.

These are not minor tasks and they are essential if we are to understand current Chinese internal and external policy. A materialist analysis calls for a rigorous look at China’s role in this period, the basis for its actions, and their ideological foundations.

At the same time any analysis of China today cannot negate the contributions made to the international communist movement by the Chinese revolution under the leadership of Mao Tse Tung; in particular, the contributions made to the process of national and social liberation of colonized peoples and peoples living under neo-colonialism.

The victory of the Vietnamese people in the spring of 1975 was universally recognized as the most serious defeat of U.S. imperialism in this century. The Vietnamese consistently saw their struggle not only as one for their own liberation but also one that would advance the national and class struggle on a world scale.

After their victory the Vietnamese again faced incredible tasks: to rebuild a devastated economy, reunite a country forcibly divided by U.S. imperialism, and construct an entire country savagely destroyed by U.S. bombings. In the years following the war, Vietnam maintained its principled position of struggle against U.S. imperialism, while demanding reparations and normalization of relations.

In looking at the contradictions within the socialist camp we cannot be blind to the role of U.S. imperialism. Shrewdly exploiting the divisions in this camp, the U.S. refuses to pay reparations to or normalize relations with Vietnam, allows China’s second highest leader to boast of “teaching Vietnam a lesson” on a state visit to this country, and by extension approves of China’s actions by sending Secretary of the Treasury Blumenthal to China in the heat of the invasion.

Progressive and revolutionary forces have a responsibility to target our real enemy: U.S. imperialism, and to expose those who ally with it. We have a responsibility to support Vietnam and demand both the Chinese withdrawal on the one hand, and, on the other, to call for U.S. payment of war debts and normalization of relations.