Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Red Dawn Committee (M-L)

Critique of OL’s Opportunism


OL’S SOCIAL-CHAUVINISM ON THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION

(A) OL’S ALLIANCE WITH U.S. IMPERIALISM AGAINST SOVIET SOCIAL-IMPERIALISM

OL claim that Soviet Social Imperialism is the main source of war today. They believe it has become a stronger world power than U.S. imperialism, with a larger arsenal of war machinery and a stronger proclivity to expand its might and control over the world’s peoples, According to OL since the defeat of U.S. imperialism in Vietnam, U.S. imperialism has been on the decline, losing its aggressive warlike expansionist nature. O.L. likens the “fascist” state of the Soviet Union to the fascism of Nazi Germany, as it attempts to liken the overall world situation of 1978 to 1934. Under the guise of isolating the greatest danger, Soviet Social Imperialism, OL conciliates with U.S. imperialism, covering its essential predatory nature, justifying compromises with it, and finally calling for an alliance with it.

OL further confuses the issue by stating that “we must direct our main blow internationally against Soviet Social Imperialism.” “CP”ML Program, p.10) Before examining our main point, that OL calls for an alliance with U.S. Imperialism, let U3 try to clear up the question of the main blow.

Stalin said that the main blow must be directed at those parties of compromise with the main enemy which are in the peoples’ ranks. (See Foundations of Leninism, Ch. 7, and On the Opposition, p. 166) This would include the entire labor aristocracy whose representatives include in Europe the various 2nd International Parties, and in the U.S. the trade union bureaucrats, poverty pimps and some local politicians. In Asia, Africa and Latin America it includes, among others, the reactionary nationalists and neocolonialist agents. OL defends its position by stating that the Soviet Union is “the center of modern revisionism, which is the main social prop of imperialism in the international working class movement.’’ (“CP”ML Program, p.10) Although the Soviet Union, up to this time, has been the center of modern revisionism, the CPSU does not prop up any other bourgeois party. It has become a party of the bourgeoisie that is actually in power. Furthermore the CPSU represents not just any power, but one of the world’s two superpowers, one of the two most powerful imperialist nations in the world today. OL uses the term main blow synonymously with main enemy; even if the Soviet Union were the main enemy by itself, and not just one of the two lain enemies and two superpowers, the main blow would still not be struck at it, but at its social props internationally.

What this effectively does is relegate U.S. imperialism to a secondary position, a lesser enemy, a secondary concern. Yet U.S. Imperialism is the main back of Israeli Zionism and arms to the teeth the racists in Southern Africa and fascist regimes in Latin America. It supports reactionary regimes the world over. It is wildly striving to maintain and expand its vested interests and squeeze out the Soviet Union in its spheres of influence. It is stepping up its war preparations daily and even introducing more deadly weapons like the neutron bomb. But to the OL U.S. imperialism is really no longer deserving of that much attention.

The consequences of this liquidation of the international struggle against U.S. imperialism and its social props clearly run throughout OL’s entire analysis of the international situation. The OL, picking up where Browder left off, is trying to rebuild the old Roosevelt coalition, this time on an anti-social-imperialist basis. They reprint in the May 30, 1977 CALL an article from Harry Haywood’s autobiography about how the CP-USA mobilized against the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Trying to rewrite history and paint the CP of the 1930’s as a beacon of proletarian internationalism, they nowhere point out that while the CP was more than willing to fight the fascists, they were totally unwilling to support those national liberation struggles directed against U.S. imperialism. The Browderites, for example, announced the heroic struggles of the people of Puerto Rico in the late 1930’s as “fascist.” Yet this is the example the OL chauvinists are trying to copy in their bid to ally with U.S. imperialism. And this also shows clearly just what sort of “party” OL has now become, since it idolizes the old CP-USA under Browder and sets it as its model.

Part and parcel of the analysis of these new Browderites is their view that the “wing” of the ruling class represented by Carter “favors a line of appeasing the Soviet Union” by making “concessions” to it. (CALL, Sept. 26, 1977. P. 2) They draw an analogy to the situation prior to the Second World War when the bloc of bourgeois-democratic imperialist countries headed by Britain and the U.S. followed a policy of “non-intervention” and appeasement to the bloc of fascist imperialist countries headed by Nazi Germany. At that time, as Stalin pointed out in his report to the 18th Congress of the CPSU and in other places, the bourgeois democratic countries wanted to egg fascist aggression on to attack the then-socialist Soviet Union. The bourgeois democratic imperialist bloc would then step in and impose a “peace” favorable to itself and at the expense of everyone else. At that time, Stalin accurately characterized the fascist imperialists as an aggressor bloc, and the non-fascist imperialists as non-aggressive. As early as 1935, the Comintern had called for a united front against fascism and labeled fascism the worst enemy of the world’s people at that time. Clearly, the Soviet Union’s efforts for collective security pacts with the non-fascist capitalist countries against the fascists was part of this process. It was in this context that the refusal of these countries to line up against fascism and their actual appeasement of the fascists, capped by the infamous Munich Pact in 1938 when Britain and France allowed the German occupation of the Sudetenland and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, was denounced and exposed.

Now, in order to make this analogy fit present-day reality, a number of distortions of facts have to be made. But distorting reality has never been a hang-up of the OL’s. In the July 11, 1977 CALL, in an article about Carter’s decision to cancel production of the new B-l bomber, they write “The decision to drop the B-l bomber must be considered in line with other appeasement policies. The Soviet Union is already putting a similar weapon, the Backfire bomber, into use, thus gaining yet another military advantage over the U.S.” The real reason behind ending the B-l program was not to appease the Soviet Union, but instead to focus on what U.S. imperialism thinks are even more efficient weapons systems, like the cruise missile, which the Soviets do not have, and the neutron bomb, which kills people without damaging buildings, and which the Soviets also do not have. The neutron bomb will eventually end up being deployed in Europe through NATO.

OL, of course, is forced to mention the cruise missile in this article, since Carter’s announcement also reported plans to increase production of this weapon. But OL does not bring up the cruise missile in this my. They write that the money allocated for the B-l program “will undoubtedly find its way into other highly profitable military programs as the U.S. continues to build its arsenal to match the Soviet Union’s. Capitalism is incapable of doing anything but chasing the highest rate of profit, no matter how much the revisionists prattle about ’reordering priorities.’ Carter himself made this clear by announcing that the B-l’s would be replaced by a system of cruise missiles and modernized B-52’s.” In other words, the decisive factor in the U.S.’s emphasis on the cruise missile is the economic factor of profits for the corporations, and not the political and military factors of what weapon they feel is most efficient to make war to protect and expand their influence. In point of fact, this decision was determined by estimates that the cruise missile would be better able to penetrate Soviet anti-aircraft defenses and radar; that since it is unmanned, no pilots would be lost if it were shot down; that it is more efficient and accurate per dollar cost than the B-l; that the B-l is already outmoded and may not even work. The cruise missile, coupled with the neutron bomb, is actually a bigger escalation of the arms race than the previous plans for the B-l. But OL wants to play junior advisor to the Pentagon and the White House on weapons systems, and tell them that this isn’t enough. And despite disclaimers such as “Carter’s decision on the B-l is not a retreat from war preparations at all,” the overall purpose and effect of describing this major revamping of the U.S. war machine’s plans as some kind of “concession” to the Soviet Union is to blunt the alertness of the masses to the growing arms expansion, war preparations, and aggressive designs of U.S. Imperialism to re-divide the world by war. By calling what was actually a challenge to the Soviet Union and a blatant advance in the arms race a “concession,” OL distorts facts to justify the “appeasement” theory. And, if they remain true to their analogy, comparing the scrapping of the B-l to appeasement means that OL actually wants the B-l to be built to achieve “collective security” against the common aggressive enemy!

Another example OL has given in recent months of supposed “appeasement” is even more fantastic. In the Nov. 28, 1977 CALL, they ran a page-one article supposedly supporting the mass demonstration in Washington by progressive Iranian students and their supporters against the Shah of Iran during his visit to the U.S. One of the main, purposes of the Shah’s visit was to work out a new arms deal with the U.S., which the, demonstrators opposed. But since the Shah did not get everything he asked for, the OL writes that, “the noncommittal stand taken by Defense Secretary Harold Brown and by Carter reflects the sharp debate existing within U.S. ruling circles on the issue of arms sales to Iran and the third world. This debate is linked to the overall debate over appeasement of the Soviet Union, which is the most aggressive power and biggest source of tension in the Persian Gulf region.” (p.13) From this, the reader would think that U.S. has somehow cut off the Shah entirely.

But now for the facts. Preliminary 1977 figures indicate that the U.S. had already signed agreements for nearly $5.5 BILLION in arms sales to Iran, that at least $2 billion worth had already been delivered prior to the Shah’s visit, and that this is the most sold-to country in the world in 1977, with Israel running a distant second at #315 million. (New York Times, Oct.16, 1977, sec.4, p.3) Does this sound like a “non-committal stand” by the government, as OL would have us believe? The real debate is not whether to arm Iran and oppose the Soviets or not to arm Iran and appease the Soviets. Rather, it is over how much they can actually use. The NY Times reports that some of the weapons Iran has are not yet available even to the U.S. armed forces. Clearly, not meeting every detail on the Shah’s shopping list is aimed at avoiding too high concentrations of U.S. arms in one area, possibly more than Iran can handle, so that enough arms will be available for superpower contention in other regions. Rather than being any “concession” to the Soviet Union, it is aimed at a well-balanced, world-wide struggle for hegemony. Certainly the Shah knew all this, and purposely asked for more than he could ever get, as a typical bargaining tactic. The NY Times reports that Saudi Arabia also favors these small limits on arms sales to Iran to make sure that enough of the action Is thrown Its way. Perhaps OL should add the Saudis to their list of “appeasers,” too! OL’s talk of this affair as a sign of “appeasement” covers up U.S. imperialism’s war preparations and construction of this huge arms arsenal in the Persian Gulf. They once again hide the aggressive nature of U.S. imperialism. And they once again take sides on the question of how U.S. Imperialism should best allocate its arms.

A final example of this erroneous analysis is OL’s attitude to Carter’s and UN Ambassador Andrew Young’s statements that the Cuban troops in Angola are a “stabilizing force.” OL’s interpretation is that “Carter’s statement reflects the appeasement trend within the U.S. ruling class. While contending fiercely with the U.S.S.R. over Africa, the U.S. imperialists are also making increasing concessions to the Russians in the hopes that this can stop their aggression.” (CALL, Nov. 7, 1977, P.9) What OL hides is that one of the real reasons for Carter’s statement is that the Cuban troops in Angola are still protecting the Gulf Oil facilities. At least temporarily, the Cubans have stabilized the U.S.’s hold over its chief economic interest in Angola, certainly far better that the Portuguese colonialists could have done.[1] While the U.S. has certainly lost much ground in Angola, and the Soviets have seized the upper hand, OL’s ”theories” leave no room for the reality of joint superpower exploitation of Angola, however temporary. Perhaps they should accuse the Soviet Union and their stooges of “appeasement” of the U.S. for not seizing the Gulf operation! OL can only see superpower contention, and not collusion, and thus lowers the guard of the people to the deceptive, dual tactics U.S. imperialism employs to serve its own interests.

We cannot fail to note the tendency for OL to believe that everything that Carter says, Carter means. While Carter on some occasions called Cuban troops in Angola a stabilizing force, on other occasions he has denounced them. In an interview In the Dec. 1977 issue of Africa magazine, he called the Cuban presence similar to “colonial intervention,” and added that this “raises legitimate concerns of neo-colonialist intrusion and can aggravate tensions in other areas of the world.” (p. 16) As usual, the bourgeois politicians are talking out of both sides of their mouths to fool the people. And once again, OL has played the fool. Marxist-Leninists, unlike OL, judge people by their deeds and not just by their words. This is especially the case when the bourgeois politicians start talking about peace and friendship between the superpowers and among all nations, as Carter is so fond of preaching. Any examination of U.S.-S0viet relations shows that OL’s analysis does not square with reality.

The purpose of OL’s analogy of appeasement is to place the U.S. in the role of the non-aggressive imperialist bloc and the Soviet Onion in the role of the fascist, aggressive imperialist bloc. By using this analogy, OL again reveals its real view that the Soviet Union alone is the main enemy of the world’s people, as the fascist countries were during the united front against fascism and the antifascist war. This analogy also shows their real view that the people of the world should unite with U.S. imperialism against Soviet social-imperialism, as, in the anti-fascist war, there was an Anglo-Soviet-American coalition against fascism. Finally, by using this analogy, OL means that US. imperialism is non-aggressive, or part of a non-aggressive bloc, as were the bourgeois-democratic countries referred to by Stalin in 1939 at the 18th CPSU Congress. Clearly such an analogy does not square with present-day reality.

It is not the purpose of this paper to give a full analysis of the role of U.S. imperialism today. It is true that there are important divisions in the U.S. ruling class about which tactics to be against the Soviet Union and differences over whether the Soviet Union seeks military superiority over the U.S. or just parity with the U.S. Certainly these questions deserve deeper study and we are not in a position to answer every detail right now.

It is clear as day, however, that the main trend in U.S. ruling circles, including both the section represented by Carter and the trilateral Commission people loyal to Rockefeller, and also the sections represented by Reagan and Sen. Henry Jackson, is decidedly not appeasement or to give “increasing concessions” to the Soviet Union, but to more openly and aggressively challenge and contend with the Soviet Union for spheres of influence and world hegemony. Since Carter took office, he has pursued a typically aggressive and expansion course, a fact covered up by the OL. On June 11, 1977, he announced that the U.S. would “aggressively challenge” the Soviet Union and seek to extend its influence into new areas, some in which the Soviet Union currently or previously had much influence and the U.S. little or none. Carter specifically mentioned “places like Vietnam and places like Iraq and Somalia and Algeria and places like the People’s Republic of China and even Cuba. I don’t have any hesitancy in these matters.” (NY Times, June 12, 1977) Since that statement, the receptiveness of the “places like,” notwithstanding, Carter has pursued exactly that course.

One of the main reasons for his phony “human rights” campaign, begun even before this statement, was to contend with the Soviet Union and support all sorts of pro-US imperialist, fascist, Zionist, and even monarchist forces in the revisionist countries, the so-called “dissidents”, who want to overthrow their governments and set up pro-US puppet regimes. Of course} the US still opposes the genuine working-class and revolutionary forces struggling against the revisionist regimes.

Carter has also begun efforts to restructure and improve the efficiency of NATO, which has been beset by major internal contradictions in recent years. There are even plans to give the neutron bomb to the NATO countries. He has started to patch up relations with many countries in which US influence has been relatively small in recent years. Among these are Nigeria, Guinea, Sudan, Somalia, and India, to name a few. Carter’s trip to Poland and the return of the national crown to Hungary are also moves aimed at paving the way for an even greater export of US capital to these revisionist countries and eventually ripping them away from the Soviet Union’s control. Some of the East European revisionist countries are already up to their necks in debts to the west. Further, the US is again increasing arms sales to the revisionist Tito clique in Yugoslavia, and generally expanding military cooperation with them. None of this, of course, can be construed as a “concession” to the Soviet Union. On the contrary, Carter has been aggressively challenging the Soviet Union in every corner of the world. But to listen to OL, one would never know that why of this was happening. Clearly, OL’s implication that the US has become non-aggressive and follows the road of appeasement is just pure nonsense meant to justify OL’s attempt to unite with its own bourgeoisie, US imperialism, to fight Soviet social-imperialism.

OL has seized upon the fact that US imperialism has suffered many defeats recently around the world by various victorious and growing revolutionary struggles. Certainly this is true and is an important feature of the world situation today. But this only means that US imperialism can no longer so easily play “cops of the world” everywhere at once. Its weakened strength and the heightened consciousness of the world’s people about its nature does not permit it to do everything it wants. This is why, for instance, it was unable to send troops to Angola. Even there, they gave secret military aid and supported South Africa’s invasion. In addition, after they lost in Angola, they worked behind-the-scenes to get the French imperialists to send the neo-colonial Moroccan troops to Zaire to put down the Soviet-backed reactionary invasion by the old Katangan colonial policemen after the Zairian army nearly collapsed. (NY Times, July 20, 1977) OL tried to portray Morocco’s actions as some sort of “solidarity”. But this army, today still chiefly engaged in occupying and trying to annex Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony”, played a similar role in Zaire for the US imperialists as the Cuban troops in Angola played for the Soviet social-imperialists. The US was unable to directly intervene chiefly because that would have created more trouble for it at home because of rebellion by the US people. This question of strength was also the reason they did not intervene when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. Was that, too, appeasement? As for Zaire, the US in the end won this encounter anyway, and it was the Soviets that were unable to mount an effective enough intervention.

As far as the US was concerned, none of this has anything to do with the policy of non-intervention and appeasement. Stalin said that the reason for the appeasement policy in the 1930’s was not that these imperialists lacked the strength to intervene. In fact, he said, they were stronger than the fascists. He also said that their reason was not that they feared revolution by the masses. The reason, he said, was that they opposed collective security with the Soviet Union against the fascists and in fact were “conniving at aggression” with the fascists. Today in the instances where the US loses to the Soviet Union or does not commit all-out aggression to defend its interests, it is not at all appeasement or non-intervention. Even the instances of underestimation of Soviet strength do not reflect a conscious policy of appeasement. It is, instead, a question of the balance of political forces. After the defeat in Indochina the US is in no position to commit forces to fight in other countries. It has to prepare the political conditions in the US for this, including preparing for the demonstrations, mutinies, and draft resistance which will arise in response to such aggression. S-1 is an example of preparation for these mass responses. In addition, US imperialism has to strengthen its alliances, like NATO. Remember this is the same US imperialism that so recently launched attacks on Indochina, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. They are everyday planning to regain their strength and bolster their forces. They are trying everything in their power to contend with and challenge the Soviet Union.

To OL, however, like Browder, the fact that US imperialism is in the position of reorganizing its forces to prepare for new acts of aggression means that the US has now changed its aggressive nature and will not seek to regain its losses and seek to conquer even new areas. Now, while Browder laid this out in theory explicitly, the OL has done the same thing in practice, without ever openly admitting its real views, and even insisting that they believe imperialism’s nature has not changed. It was in this context that they launched in 1975 their big drive against revisionism and social-imperialism to give themselves a “revolutionary” cover while seeking to ally with US imperialism against Soviet social-imperialism.

A component part of OL’s class collaboration and social-chauvinism is their recent support of US neo-colonialism. One of the most blatant of these attempts was OL’s open support of the new Panama Canal treaty. The OL claimed that the new’ treaty would give “full control over the canal and the zone to the Panamanian government on December 31, 1999.” (CALL, Aug. 22, 1977, p.7) Yet they have to admit that the agreement allows the US to militarily intervene at any time in the future in the event of any “threat” to the running of the canal! In other words, the Panamanian government has in reality signed away its sovereignty over the canal and agreed to a permanent military pact with US imperialism! And this OL calls “an important victory”. The “concessions” made by the US, such as a “pledge” to withdraw its troops and bases “gradually” sometime before the year 2000 are merely cosmetic maneuvers. OL takes for granted that this will happen just because US imperialism says it will. Even if they do eventually withdraw, all that will change in essence in the Canal Zone is the form of US rule, from a naked old-style colonialist rule left over from the days of gunboat diplomacy, to a slicker, more “modern” neo-colonialism. In addition, the treaty will not change the economic relations between the US and the Canal Zone or Panama. Instead of alerting the people to the deceptive tactics of the US, OL urges US workers to support US neo-colonialism. Further, their report on the so-called “vote” in Panama on the treaty makes no mention of the fact that it was held under the military dictatorship of Torrijos and could not be considered an accurate gauge of the true sentiments of the Panamanian people. Even so, one third of the “votes” opposed the treaty.

OL says that some people opposed the treaty because they “felt it does not go far enough quickly enough on ousting US imperialism from its stronghold in the country.” (CALL, Nov. 7, 1977, p.8) This is also a distortion. The opposition felt that the treaty does not oust US imperialism at all, pure and simple, and is a neo-colonialist trick. OL also did not report the mass anti-imperialist demonstrations in Panama that opposed this deal and were violently suppressed by the Torrijos regime. Instead, they reported on the approval of the treaty by some Latin American governments, like Colombia and Costa Rica, showing again who they think are their friends and enemies. These big “anti-revisionists” did not report the support of this treaty by the revisionist CP of Panama. OL also made no mention in their paper about the visits to Washington by many fascist Latin American lackeys of the US, including Pinochet of Chile, Videla of Argentina, and Balaguer of the Dominican Republic, to support this treaty. Nor did they mention the demonstrations against the treaty and the fascists, despite OL’s usual practice of filling up their paper with reports on every demonstration imaginable.

To date, the most incredible distortion by OL to cover up for and support US neo-colonialism is their analysis of Sadat’s trip as a sell-out of the Palestinians, although they downplayed it in their press. The November 28, 1977 CALL buried it on page 9 in a typically short article, giving it less space than most of their strike articles. But since they could not duck the issue entirely, they ran another article in the December 12,1977 CALL. In it, they actually say that “Sadat’s actions represent a step against superpower hegemonism” (p.8) It is not hard to figure out why the Soviet Union opposed this deal, since this was ..a big. setback for its own plans to spread its influence and convene the Geneva conference, of which it is co-chair. As for the US, OL’s “proof” is to quote a NY Times report that the Carter administration had differences on tactics and wanted Sadat to postpone the trip. For OL, this may be a satisfactory level of “opposition” to US imperialism. But again OL has had to stand truth on its head to make its analysis.

The truth about the Sadat visit to Israel is not hard to find. Sadat himself, as quoted in the NY Times and Time magazine, admitted that Carter personally pressed him to meet the Israelis face-to-face last April. At that time, Sadat refused, citing as one of his main reasons that the Israeli leaders and government were at that time not strong enough. The Israeli government had been destabilized by a major scandal then, and its replacement was complicated by petty contradictions among its politicians. Soon after, Begin took office. Sadat received a personal handwritten letter from Carter in September in which the trip to Israel was “suggested”. For doing this, Sadat praises Carter to the skies this way:

What Carter is doing now – this man is trying to give the true image of America: gallantry, human rights, morality, honesty. The man is honest.... I think Carter will leave his fingerprints on history as a true American who shows the true image of the US in a new era, and that can remedy what has happened in the past. (TIME, Jan. 2, 1978, p. 32)

So now we know what Sadat has meant all along when he said a while ago that the US held “99% of the cards” in the Middle East. Sadat himself, in his speech to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), called on the “two superpowers” (these were the words he used) to provide “guarantees” once a peace deal is made. This from the supposed opponent of superpower hegemonism.

It would not be surprising if it is true that there were some differences between Carter and Sadat on the timing of the trip, perhaps because it interfered with Carter’s own trip abroad soon after. But there are also differences on timing and tactics between the US and Israel. Maybe for OL these differences also represent “a step against superpower hegemonism”. But to understand the nature of US-Egyptian relations, a brief look at recent history, both political and economic, is necessary.

OL is forced to point out that Sadat’s trip recognizes the right of a Zionist state to exist and tramples on the rights of the Palestinians and their representatives, the PLO. But even Sadat himself almost admits as much. Sadat’s treachery is nothing new. The Sinai agreement in which foreign troops were brought in to “monitor” the area was the first step towards a separate peace with Israel.” This trip is merely a media-oriented continuation of that capitulationist policy. Further, Sadat has over the years changed the economic relation of the US to Egypt. After the Soviet Union strangled Egypt’s economy with its loanshark-like “aid” and loans, Sadat threw them out only to turn to the US. He changed the old investment laws created under Nasser to let in a flood of US and Western capital. He borrowed heavily from Western financiers, who demanded and got cutbacks of government subsidies of food for the masses in order to guarantee repayment of their loans. This led to a massive rebellion by the Egyptian people. It was clear that Sadat intended to turn Egypt into a neo-colony of US imperialism. But there was still one big obstacle to this relations with the US’s chief Middle East ally, Zionist Israel. It was to complete this process that Sadat went to Israel. Now the bourgeois press is filled with stories about the “bright prospects” for Ford and Coca-Cola to open plants in Egypt, for thriving trade between Egypt and Israel, etc. While the economic factor is only one part of Sadat’s motivation, it is part of his overall capitulationist course. It is this story, this reality of neocolonialism, that OL covers up.

In the past, OL has had nothing but praise for Sadat. They tried to distort the class nature of the Egyptian regime by saying that it was “the Egyptian people who finally expelled Soviet advisors and tore up a Soviet-Egyptian ’friendship treaty’.” (CALL, March 28, 1977, p. 11) Even though the masses supported these moves, they were carried out by the Egyptian ruling class and government. But trying to pretend that Sadat represents the people will get OL nowhere, since his regime is bound to be overthrown, perhaps even very soon, because of his outright treachery. OL’s fetish with differences over tactics and timing between Sadat and Carter cannot change the facts that Sadat is a traitor to the Arab people and a capitulator to imperialism and Zionism and that his trip was in the interests of US imperialism and a setback for the Palestinian people. To cover this up, OL did not report on Sadat’s pledge of “no more war” with Israel, which is a pledge of surrender.

OL, as usual, tries to raise all these minor tactical differences among our enemies to the level of principle, as they have historically done in the Watergate affair, with the union hacks, and with detente. All one has to do to win the approval of an opponent of superpower hegemonism from OL is to oppose one superpower, the Soviet Union, and line up with the other one, the US. All this is aimed at defusing opposition to Sadat’s trip, and, thus, opposition to US imperialism. OL, simply enough, does not want the people to fight against Sadat. This is why OL, which was so quick to report which countries rushed to support the Panama Canal treaty, did not report on the meeting of Arab countries and the PLO in Libya to denounce Sadat’s concessions and reaffirm support for the PLO. The end result is for OL to cover up the facts: that US imperialism has been orchestrating this whole negotiating process from behind the scenes for some time; that Sadat has accepted the US-Israeli plan to split the Arabs, isolate and smash the PLO, and to force the Palestinians into a link with Jordan’s reactionary King Hussein; and that this Is all part of US imperialism’s plan to secure a stable existence for the Zionist state in the Middle East. OL tries to make this sell-out, which is a big victory for US imperialism, into a defeat for it.

OL has also covered up for US neocolonialism in other areas. When Sudan threw out the Soviet military experts, OL called this “a heavy blow to the schemes of both superpowers to penetrate the Red Sea area.” (CALL, June 6, 1977, p.2) But what OL never told its readers is that as soon as they threw the Soviets out, they invited the US in. Recently the US agreed to a new package of arms “aid” to Sudan. In addition, right after Sadat returned from Israel, Sudanese president Nimeri flew to Cairo to personally congratulate Sadat and show his support for this imperialist-sponsored maneuver. OL pulled a similar trick regarding events in Somalia. After Somalia expelled the Soviet military “advisors” and closed the Soviet naval base in the port of Berbera, OL declared this showed that Somalia “will not allow its people to be dominated and bullied, nor its territory to be used as a pawn in the superpower contest.” (CALL, Nov. 21. 1977, p.13) But Somalia has been begging for US arms for almost two years now. And for OL, military pacts with US imperialism that assist its war preparations and contention for world hegemony means opposing superpower hegemonism.

In fact, OL has even gone to the length of trying to paint the fascist Chilean junta, installed by US imperialism and comprador bourgeoisie, as some sort of opponent to hegemonism. The January 10, 1977 CALL, in an article entitled “Latin America Rebuffs Superpower Schemes”, tells us that, “on all issues where superpower contention is sharp, Latin American governments and peoples are taking steps to firmly oppose both superpowers and safeguard their sovereignty.11 (p. 7) One of the examples they give on opposition “on all issues” to “both superpowers” was that:

the USSR tried to drive a wedge between Peru and Chile. The two countries are currently negotiating the creation of a territorial strip to be used by Bolivia as a passageway to the coast. Such an agreement would represent a step forward in trade relations and unity between Latin American countries. In the imperialist tradition of ’divide and conquer’, the Soviet Union spread rumors that Peru and Chile were on the verge of war, creating a tense climate as negotiations got underway.

In other words, since the Chilean fascists are supposedly part of the trend of “unity between Latin American countries”, the people should support them. Now, OL must acknowledge that Chile is presently a fascist state. But by creating another “aspect” to the junta, that of its supposed “independence” from the US and even opposition to it, and emphasizing this, OL in essence places them as part of the international united front, as a friend and not an enemy on an international scale. So while OL eagerly exposes Soviet neocolonialism, such as in Cuba, they try to pretend that it does not exist in countries like Chile dominated by or allied to US imperialism. While we do not support neocolonial puppets as the firm allies of the working class, we do not mean to deny the justice even of reactionary regimes fighting for the 200-mile limit to their coastal waters, and control over their other natural resources, as the countries of OPEC do. Also, we have emphasized US imperialism’s ambitions to retain world hegemony. We don’t mean to lessen people’s awareness of the threat of Soviet social imperialism, but to expose OL’s claims that the US is no longer any big danger.

All of OL’s designs are aimed at building an alliance with US imperialism, no matter how much they deny it. By prettifying US imperialism and presenting it as peaceful, and by consistently apologizing for US imperialism and its lackeys, OL tries to divert the struggle of the US people away from its “own” bourgeoisie. This is the line of Browderism, of social-chauvinism. It is an idealist line that does not conform to reality but tries to distort the facts. It shows no faith in the ability of the international proletariat, the socialist countries, and the national liberation movements to defeat US imperialism, and sells out their vital interests for some small reforms. This line has nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Therefore the line of all genuine Marxist-Leninists who truly uphold proletarian internationalism and oppose imperialism, social-imperialism, and all reactionaries, has nothing in common with OL’s social-chauvinist line.

(B) OL’S OPPOSITION TO NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLES AND NEW DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTIONS

To unite with its “own” bourgeoisie, with one superpower to fight the other, OL must throw mud on the national liberation struggles. It slandered the Eritrean Liberation forces in its March 28, 1977 CALL by calling them a “secessionist movement” (p.7), as if they were just some blind, narrow bourgeois nationalists and not an anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle, part of the world proletarian revolution. While OL has now begun to speak more favorably of the struggle of the Eritrea and Ethiopian masses, this is only because the Soviet Union has now gained the upper hand with the reactionary Ethiopian military junta and has started to edge out the US. But when the US was still the main backer of the junta, the OL chauvinists were silent, even refusing to denounce the fascist military junta, since it was supposedly an ally because it was “part of the third world.”

On the question of Iran and Oman, OL has said, “Iran, which has bought a great deal of arms from the US and taken a number of steps recently to strengthen its national defense, has been the target of extreme abuse from the USSR.” (CALL, Dec. 6, 1976, p.4) Nothing is said of the use of these arms to defend US imperialist interests in the Persian Gulf region, to murder the Iranian people, and to suppress the Omani revolution. We certainly support the national sovereignty of Iran and will defend it from any imperialist aggression or bullying, as is now going on both by the two superpowers’ attempts to wreck OPEC and their military build-ups in that region. But to imply that the main reason Iran has purchased so many billions of dollars of US arms is for legitimate “national defense”, is to cover up against whom they are being used today–the peoples of Iran and Oman. Thus OL comes out as defenders of US neocolonialism in the Persian Gulf. While OL enumerates “support” for certain national liberation struggles by name in their program, they do not list by name the struggles of the peoples of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Oman, Iran, or in the fascist countries in Latin America, to name a few.

Now why does OL, like all chauvinists, attack some liberation movements as “reactionary” and “divisive”, yet hail others as “progressive”? Their program by name “supports” only the struggles in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Azania, Palestine and the Arab people, and Puerto Rico. In all these struggles, US imperialism has been terribly exposed on a world scale, been forced to retreat, and offered neocolonial “solutions” – puppet Black-white regimes in southern Africa; the mini-state, next to Israel and tied to Jordan, for Palestine; and statehood for Puerto Rico. Again, OL gives lip service to “supporting” only those movements that it must, and only where US imperialism itself has retreated or begun to retreat to neocolonialism. In practice, OL must wait for US imperialism to retreat before they will withdraw support from reactionary elements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In other words, OL will only do what is acceptable to US imperialism.

While peppering their program with calls for proletarian internationalism, OL is really an enemy of national liberation and revolution and a political representative of its “own” bourgeoisie, US imperialists. In some areas, its program is even worse than the imperialists. The US has heavily plundered the resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and destroyed much through imperialist wars of aggression. One would think that a communist party in this country would at least promise some sort of reparation and no-strings aid to the oppressed nations and peoples. Even the hangman Nixon promised some payment to the Vietnamese people. But while this promise was never meant to be kept, OL doesn’t even bother to go through the motions of making the promise! Thus, for OL, it is just tough luck for the oppressed nations and peoples, for all the stolen wealth no longer belongs to them, but to the US.

OL’s opposition to wars of national liberation is also clearly seen in their actual practice. In New York, there is a large and growing movement to support various national liberation forces around the world. Yet OL can rarely be seen at these activities, although it has declared itself the “vanguard” of the US proletariat. Again, some movements it chooses to “support”, and others not to. In their pamphlet Building Class Struggle Trade Unions, while hollering quite a lot about the revisionists and the social-imperialists, OL makes virtually no mention of using trade unions to win US workers to support the liberation struggles in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To the chauvinists of OL, they are not an important arena of struggle as far as the workers movement is concerned. Perhaps OL is scared that work to support these revolutionary struggles will divert them from their economic agitation and reform work! So, in practice, support for liberation struggles is not a major, strategic question for OL.

In various ways, OL has openly come out against the national democratic revolution in the oppressed nations of Africa, and Latin America. In a polemic with the RCP, they call them “trotskyite” because “the RCP, like the Trotskyites, covers its line with the ’left’-sounding phrases calling for the overthrow of the third world governments.” (CLASS STRUGGLE, Spring’77, p.32-33) They denounce RCP for “condemning Ugandan President Amin’s alleged crimes against the people of Uganda”(p.32)!! “Alleged” crimes!! So even the butcher Amin, the shame of Black Africa, is accorded OL’s “all unity” line! In other words, according to OL, advocacy of national liberation revolutions, especially against the tools of US imperialism, is now “Trotskyism”! Instead of criticizing RCP for its social-chauvinist and class-collaborationist line that in practice has liquidated concrete support for national liberation struggles, the even more openly class-collaborationist OL criticizes RCP for supporting them too often and too much.

OL can only use demagogy to defend its line. Their justification for opposition to new democratic revolution is that “the superpowers are also plotting to overthrow certain governments, replacing them with their own cliques.”(p.33) Thus, there can never be a new democratic revolution, since the superpowers may want to put in an even more reactionary regime or kick the other superpower out at any time in the oppressed nations. According to this logic, the people of Angola shouldn’t have fought the Portuguese-US colonial regime because the Soviet Union had and carried out a plot to seize the country after its imperialist rivals were beaten! OL is trying to have history stand still to maintain the status quo. What is this but the “lesser of two evils” line all over again? It is the same fear of coups and wars raised by the modern revisionists to scare the people from revolution, the sane justification they used for their line of “peaceful transition” in Chile.

Another example of OL’s open opposition to national liberation and new democratic revolution was their position on the Lebanon crisis in 1976. The correct stand was to support the progressive and democratic Lebanese struggling against the semi-colonial, anti-Moslem political system; alongside the Palestinian people, against the pro-imperialist elements led by the Phalangist party, openly supported and aided by Israeli Zionism and US imperialism, and the invasion by Syria, egged on by the two superpowers. Instead of supporting the just, progressive war and opposing the unjust, reactionary war, OL obliterated the difference between oppressor and oppressed, denied the just character of the war waged by the progressive Lebanese and Palestinians, and declared, “Contradictions in Lebanon, such as those among religious groups or different Arab countries, are contradictions within the third world which should be resolved peacefully.” (CALL, June 1 if, 1976, p.2) Thus, according to OL, the oppressed people are not permitted to wage armed struggle for liberation, or even self-defense, must give up the new democratic revolution, and must lay down their arms and surrender. This is the same line as Soviet social-imperialism, which screamed that the forces of the progressive Lebanese and Palestinians waging armed struggle were “ultra-leftist”. It is modern revisionism that is well-known for not distinguishing between just and unjust wars and between oppressor and oppressed. OL is following in their footsteps. Further, OL lies to its readers about the aims of this struggle, reducing it to merely contradictions between “religious groups or different Arab countries”, and covers up the anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist nature of this struggle.

OL has also reduced the aims of liberation struggles. For example, they write about Zimbabwe that, “The guerillas are battling to establish majority rule.” (CALL, May 24, 1976, p.1) Here OL, which pretends that its paper is modeled after Lenin’s ISKRA, resorts to the liberal, bourgeois democratic slogan of “majority rule” and does not explain the class nature of the state. The aim is not “majority rule”, for according to this logic, in most of the African countries the “majority” rules, since old-style colonialism has been defeated. The aim of the guerillas, led by the Patriotic Front, is independence and national liberation. They, unlike OL, are opposed to neocolonialist schemes of “majority rule” that install Black African compradors who will replace the openly racist Smith regime and protect imperialist interests.

Perhaps one of the clearest confessions of social-chauvinism and opposition to revolution is OL’s line on who are strategic allies of the international proletariat. In another polemic OL attacks RCP for describing contradictions between US imperialism and many of the non-socialist governments of the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as contradictions “in the enemies’ ranks.” (quoted in CALL, July 11, 1977, p.8) OL writes, “But the opposition of the third world to the superpowers is not a contradiction within the enemies’ ranks at all.” They further state that “the third world is a main ally of the working class and among the direct reserves of the revolution.” (emphasis added) They then go on to specifically mention as examples of these “direct reserves” the bloody regimes of Idi Amin in Uganda and the Shah of Iran. They even try to ridicule the RCP for stating that the US imperialists were the “ultimate masters behind the Shah.” In other words, according to OL, the feudalists, comprador bourgeoisie, and reactionary military regimes have now suddenly become in favor of, and strategic allies of the national democratic and proletarian revolutions. This means that they are part of the people, that the contradictions between them and the masses are non-antagonistic, and that the differences with them should only be settled by peaceful education and persuasion. Again, the OL tells the people of the oppressed nations to give up their national democratic revolution and make peace with their exploiters and murderers. This totally confuses the distinction between the actual direct reserves of the proletariat–including the national liberation movements–with the indirect reserves of the proletariat, which include contradictions between semi-colonial, semi–feudal, and anti-popular regimes like in Iran and Uganda, and the two superpowers, our main enemy. Certainly we should take full advantage of these contradictions to isolate and weaken the superpowers. But OL subordinates our strategic objectives, which include the support of the violent overthrow of many of these regimes, to the present, tactical alliances that are sometimes necessary. OL gives up our ultimate aim, like they do on every other question, and converts strategic enemies into strategic allies. They also convert indirect reserves into direct reserves, unreliable and temporary allies into reliable and permanent allies, and vacillating and unstable elements into staunch and steadfast supporters of revolution and socialism. In fact, they alter the basic strategy for revolution in the era of Imperialism by including as main, strategic reserves, regimes that are the sworn enemies of revolution and communism. This line is a classic example of revisionism, class collaboration, and counter-revolution.

We wonder: If OL can so easily convert these neocolonial state apparatuses into main strategic allies of the proletariat and into regimes that can be or already have been peacefully changed into anti-imperialist ones, then just how long will it take OL to openly declare that the master of many of these regimes, US imperialism, has also changed its nature and can also be peacefully transformed? Whether OL will dare to openly revive the line of their predecessor and idol, Browder, is doubtful. In order to get over today, they will have to dress it up in a new, more clever form. But what is indisputable is that OL’s line is pure class collaborationism. It liquidates the national democratic revolution in the oppressed nations and prettifies the running dogs of US imperialism. OL’s counter-revolutionary line must be distinguished from the correct Marxist-Leninist line.

Endnote

[1] For a full exposure of this, see the analysis of the Organization of Angolan Communists–OCA–an anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist group in Angola, in the April, 1977 journal IKWEZI, p.69-70.