First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 5, May 31, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The following interview with October League Chairman Michael Klonsky examines the views of the OL on some questions about the international situation. The interview was conducted following the return m April of an OL Central Committee delegation to the People’s Republic of China, headed by Klonsky.
Call: The October League has said previously that the two superpowers are the main enemies of the world’s peoples today. Is this still true?
MK: Yes, it is. The two superpowers are the biggest criminals and enemies of the peoples, nations and countries of the whole world. They are the main source of a new world war and the only countries capable of starting such a war. This is because of their struggle to redivide the world among themselves. In doing so, they trample on the rights and sovereignty of the countries of the second and third world as well as on those of the people of their own countries. A broad united front of these peoples, nations and countries should be built to oppose them.
Call: OL has also said that of the two superpowers, the Soviet Union is the more dangerous. Why is this so?
MK: The Soviet Union is the most dangerous because it is a superpower on the rise, while the U.S. is on the decline. Although the U.S. still maintains the most colonies and is to some degree stronger economically, the Soviet Union is the most aggressive because it is a newcomer to the imperialist feast.
The Soviet Union can be compared to Hitler Germany during the period of the ’30s. At that time, the British, French and U.S. imperialists were in the most dominant position in the capitalist world. But Germany’s imperialists were the most dangerous precisely because they were trying to seek hegemony and replace the other imperialist powers as top dog. This is the goal of the Soviet social-imperialists today.
The Soviet Union is also stronger militarily than the U.S. in the main strategic areas of sea power and ground capabilities. It has the most powerful military machine ever assembled in history and has completely militarized its fascist-type society. Despite all of Brezhnev’s talk of “detente,” the recent 25th Congress of the Soviet party was obviously a war preparations congress.
Finally, the Soviet Union is the most dangerous enemy because it carries out aggression under the flag of “socialism.” Its present intervention and occupation of Angola has temporarily confused some honest anti-imperialists. Because of the lies of the revisionist slander mill, the role of the Soviet Union as an imperialist superpower has not been clearly recognized yet by many of these militants who have long fought against the U.S. imperialists. Many are being temporarily pulled into efforts to open the door to even further Soviet expansion.
Call: Because of this stand on the Soviet Union, the revisionists and centrists have accused the OL of “class collaboration” and claim that you are calling for a “united front” with U.S. imperialism against the USSR. They have also made the same charge against China. What is your view of this?
MK: Yes, the centrists are trying to rescue the revisionists from their sinking ship. They are repeating all the lies which have been fabricated in Moscow of a “Maoist alliance with U.S. imperialism.”
As to the question of a united front with U.S. imperialism, we know of no communist organization or party that has put forth such a view.
The opportunist charges of “class collaboration” are aimed at discrediting any and all opposition to the aggression of the Soviet Union.
The defeats of U.S. imperialism have not at all changed its completely reactionary nature. As the U.S. ruling class gears up for the inevitable war with the Soviet Union, we must intensify the struggle against them and their war preparations.
Call: Does China call for such a united front against the Soviet Union?
MK: From our discussions, I can say absolutely not. While opposing both superpowers, the Chinese have made it clear that they will direct the main blow against the Soviet Union because it is the most dangerous and the main source of a new world war. As to U.S. imperialism, the Chinese Party has always opposed it and still does. The present foreign policy of China is being carried out under the direct supervision of Chairman Mao and the party Central Committee.
Call: What does it mean for us to direct this main blow at the USSR?
MK: It means that through our propaganda we must work even harder to expose the aggressive imperialist nature of the Soviet Union, to show that it is a capitalist dictatorship, a fascist dictatorship of the Hitler type. Secondly, we must expose and work to smash the revisionist Communist Party USA, which is nothing but a reactionary “fifth column” of the Soviet Union. We must intensify our exposures of this party and show it for what it is–an imperialist party–and not a communist party at all.
It also means that we must firmly oppose those in the U.S. who appease or conciliate to Soviet social-imperialism and who thereby bring on the war that much sooner.
Call: How does the OL view the present war danger?
MK: A few years ago, it was correct to say that “revolution is the main trend in the world today.” Now this statement is no longer fully complete or applicable to the present conditions. Today both the factors for war and revolution are developing together. By saying that both factors are developing together, we are clearly emphasizing the growing danger of a war. In this way, we take note of the changes since 1970 and help people get prepared.
While a new war is inevitable, it is not necessarily imminent. War will not necessarily break out all at once. The main area of superpower contention is in Europe, but to prepare for war, the superpowers are jockeying for position on Europe’s flanks, like the Mideast. The Soviet aggression in southern Africa is likewise a part of their efforts to strengthen their hand against the U.S. prior to the outbreak of world war.
Call: What does “getting prepared” for war entail?
MK: First and foremost, getting prepared means forging a genuine Marxist-Leninist vanguard party of the working class. With such a party, the working class can be organized and the struggle against capitalism heightened. In the event of a war, our program must be to turn the imperialist war into a revolutionary war against capitalism. At present, we must oppose the imperialist striving of both superpowers who are the only forces capable of launching such a war.
To turn this program into a living reality, work must be done now to educate the masses through our propaganda and agitation about the nature of the war. We must show that it is an imperialist war that is in the making. We must expose the Soviet Union as the main aggressor and the most dangerous of the superpowers and take on our special responsibilities of opposing our own imperialism.
Attempts are being made to increase the attacks on the working class and on the minorities. Getting prepared for war necessitates heightened class struggle against all such attacks on the rights and living standards of the people and in defense of the right to self-determination of all oppressed nations. The U.S. ruling class cannot carry out a war without attacking the people of this country.
The war and the danger of war is bound to heighten all of the basic contradictions in our society and provide an opportunity for winning large numbers of the working and oppressed people to revolutionary struggle.
A world war is a terrible attack on the people and on the productive forces in the world. However, it is better to be prepared than unprepared for such an attack. On the other hand, the war heightens the revolutionary anger and fighting spirit of the people who also have guns placed in their hands. This is what makes it possible to turn imperialist war into civil war.
(To be continued)