First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 24, June 20, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The government and people of the African country of Zaire have won a major struggle against imperialism. Rising up heroically with guns in hand, they defeated an invasion by mercenaries in the pay of the Soviet Union and, with the support of African and other countries, they have defended their territory from aggression.
The struggle in Zaire contains many lessons for revolutionaries throughout Africa and around the world. The situation there helped expose the repulsive features of Soviet social-imperialism, which, along with U.S. imperialism, stands today as one of the main enemies of the world’s people, despite its “socialist” disguise.
The Zairean people’s struggle against aggression received sympathy, support and assistance from anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces around the world and was opposed by the reactionaries and revisionists. In this country, as expected, the revisionist Communist Party U.S.A., the centrist Guardian and the various Trotskyist groups attacked the struggle as “reactionary,” supported the Soviet-backed invasion, and called on the people of Zaire to submit to aggression.
What is more significant is that the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), which claims to be an “anti-revisionist” organization, joined in and served as a “left” cover for the revisionist line. The RCP shied away from open support for the invasion–for that would be too crass even for the RCP. Instead, they used The Veteran, the newspaper of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), which they control, to put forward their chauvinism and treachery.
The June issue of The Veteran carried an article entitled “U.S.-USSR Rivalry in Zaire,” which calls on the people of Zaire to lay down their arms and allow the mercenary army to take over their country. After pointing out the two trends in the world, the liberation struggle, on the one hand, and superpower contention on the other, the article claims that the Zairean struggle falls only under the category of superpower contention and that it is not a liberation struggle. The article condemns the Zairean government as “reactionary” and claims: “It is obvious that the people of Zaire don’t gain a whole lot from this skirmish. This is not a war of liberation. On the one side, the U.S. and its allies, including the government of Zaire, have control of the wealth of the country. On the other side, the Soviet Union and its allies want the wealth. In either case that wealth is taken from the country at the expense of the people.”
Here, under the rhetoric of opposition to the superpowers, we find the logic of traitors and cowards. The RCP is telling the masses that they have “nothing to gain” by resisting the invasion of their homeland. They portray the struggle of the third world against hegemonism as simply a fight among thieves, and they place the third world in the same camp as the two superpowers.
Trying to cover themselves, they tack on a remark that “this little War must end with one side or the other as the victor,” and that therefore it would be better if the mercenaries were defeated. But with their distorted logic, portraying the struggle simply as a fight between the superpowers, they cannot explain why it would be better. Their whole article has been aimed, up to this point, at demonstrating that the people have “nothing to gain” regardless of who wins.
All this goes to show the logical extension of RCP’s opportunist line on the international situation. By opposing the movement of the third world against imperialism and social-imperialism, the RCP ultimately lines up behind the aggressors and imperialists–and especially behind the Soviet social-imperialists, who are rapidly expanding throughout southern Africa.
This line also places the RCP on the opposite side of the barricades from the other African liberation forces and governments, as well as from the People’s Republic of China, all of whom gave their firm support to the Zairean struggle. As the Chinese press commented in the People’s Daily, the Zairean people’s victory was “a major contribution to the third world’s cause of unity against hegemonism.”
Just as the Soviet social-imperialists are being unmasked in Zaire, Angola, Egypt, Sudan and other countries around the world, their apologists in the U.S. are also being exposed. This is especially true of the likes of the RCP, which for a long time has struck a pose as “the communist party” in the U.S.