First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 27, July 11, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) has at last acknowledged Chairman Mao’s great theory of the three worlds. After years of opposing the struggles of the third world countries, and even claiming that terms like “second world” and “third world” were “unscientific,” the RCP has published an article in the July issue of Revolution in which they suddenly claim to support Chairman Mao’s theory.
In fact, the article does no such thing. It is just a continuation of RCP’s revisionist and chauvinist line on the international situation.
Briefly stated, Chairman Mao’s theory of the three worlds is a strategic concept that Marxist-Leninists around the world use to define the friends and enemies of the revolution. It analyzes the relations between the first world (the U.S. and the USSR), the second world (the lesser imperialists of Europe, Japan and elsewhere) and the third world (the developing countries historically dominated by imperialism which contain the majority of the world’s population).
Analyzing the world in these three parts, Chairman Mao showed that the third world is the main force in fighting imperialism and that the main enemy of the struggle internationally is the two imperialist superpowers.
For a long time, the RCP has joined with the Trotskyites and revisionists in attacking this analysis, as they did at their International Conference just last fall. These attacks have gone hand-in-hand with RCP’s slanders against China’s new leader, Chairman Hua Kuo-feng, and their tacit support for the reactionary “gang of four.”
RCP’s attacks on China and Chairman Mao’s contributions have put them in an increasingly isolated position. Many of their own cadres are demanding that the leadership take a stand in support of Chairman Hua, but they continue to refuse to do so.
The article in the July issue of Revolution is a feeble effort to cover their tracks by paying lipservice to Chairman Mao’s analysis. RCP’s analysis, however, has nothing in common with Chairman Mao’s teachings.
To begin with, they continue to describe both superpowers–the first world–as main enemies of the world’s people “to the same degree and same extent.” This mechanical view of “equilibrium” between the two superpowers ignores the reality of uneven development under imperialism, which gives rise to the rivalry for a redivision of the world.
In particular, the RCP’s line on the superpowers covers over the special danger of Soviet social-imperialism, namely, the Soviet Union being the most aggressive power and the main source of a new world war.
In general, the RCP’s view of the theory of three worlds denies its strategic significance. According to the RCP, the “three worlds analysis” makes a contribution to understanding the international situation only “in the realm of the role of the states.”
With this definition, RCP attacks the fundamental unity of the three great trends in the world today–countries fighting for independence, nations for liberation and people for revolution.
In this way, the RCP ignores the objective realities of today’s world and turns a strategic concept defining the friends and enemies of the revolution into a narrow question of states and countries. Focusing only on the relationship between one government and another, the RCP concludes that the contradictions between the first and third worlds, for example, represent no more than a falling out among thieves.
According to the RCP, since “bourgeois forces rule the non-socialist countries,” the conflicts which develop between them are merely differences within the international bourgeoisie which workers should take advantage of in their fight against the imperialist system. As they state, “In order to defeat a powerful enemy we must make use of cracks and crevices no matter how small in the enemies’ ranks.” [added emphasis–ed.]
But the opposition of the third world to the two superpowers is not a contradiction within the enemies’ ranks at all. To lump together the governments of the third world with the imperialist governments of the second world and especially with the superpowers is nothing but imperialist logic. It is a chauvinist attack on the rising national movements in the third world which are not under working-class leadership today.
The RCP justifies its opportunist line by characterizing the three worlds analysis as “classless.” To talk about the third world as the main force, they argue, “would be in essence to deny that countries are divided into classes and that bourgeois forces rule the non-socialist countries.” Echoing the revisionists and Trotskyists, the RCP declares that the three worlds analysis ”is not a substitute for class analysis.”
But in the international situation today, the three worlds theory is a component part of a class analysis. It speaks directly to the question of class struggle, showing that the third world is a main ally of the working class and among the direct reserves of the revolution. After all, which class is served by the blows struck against imperialism by the national liberation movements of the third world?
Chairman Mao’s analysis of the third world, moreover, is a direct continuation of the analysis put forward by Lenin and Stalin on the national question in the era of imperialism. Both pointed out that the movements of the oppressed nations, colonies and dependent countries are direct reserves of the revolution because objectively their interests stand in direct opposition to the interests of the imperialist powers.
In Foundations of Leninism, Stalin summarized this view, underlining “the revolutionary character of the national movement under the conditions of imperialist oppression.” Stalin clearly shows that the revolutionary character of these movements is not determined by the “class composition” of their leadership, which is what the RCP maintains. Each movement must be judged, he argued, by whether it “weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism.”
The RCP does, however, pay lip service to this correct view by adding that the third world countries “weaken” imperialism when they take a stand against one or the other superpower. But again the RCP considers this opposition to be secondary–a reflection of contradictions among the enemy.
The main trend in the third world, they insist, is “capitulation” to the superpowers rather than unity against them. “Aided by the reactionary class nature and capitulation of many third world governments,” the article states, “the imperialists have succeeded ... in cutting into many of the earlier gains.” They add that the governments of these countries “will tend to cave in to pressure and line up with one superpower or another.”
RCP’s attacks on third-world unity are a welcome sign to both imperialist superpowers, who are intent on trying to sabotage this powerful force. The RCP has helped spread their slanders and focus attention away from the crimes of the U.S. and Soviet Union onto the governments of the third world. Recall, for instance, RCP’s attacks on Uganda for “violating” human rights at the exact moment the U.S. imperialists were preparing for an invasion of that country.
In particular, they have echoed the propaganda promoted by the Soviet Union, labeling the governments opposed to social-imperialism as “U.S. puppets” and “reactionaries.” For example, in the article they mention that the government of Iran has taken a stand in OPEC against the superpowers. They then turn around and insist that the U.S. imperialists are the “ultimate masters behind the Shah.”
This Revolution article in “support” of the concept of the three worlds shows just how far the RCP has departed from Marxism-Leninism. The article denies that the main trend in the third world is unity, places the third world in the enemies’ ranks, and liquidates the revolutionary character of the national question in the era of imperialism. In addition, it puts the third-world governments and “local reactionaries” on par with the two superpowers as the main enemies of the masses of third-world people. What a service rendered for imperialism!
Prettifying the enemies of the working class and attacking its best friends and allies–this is the “strategy” the RCP is putting forward to the U.S. working class. The more they try to defend their views on the international situation, the deeper they sink into the swamp of revisionism and Trotskyism.