First Published: Workers Viewpoint newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 2, April-May, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This is the text of a speech given by Workers Viewpoint Organization in Chicago in a forum on March 13, 1976.
The Angola issue has shown how a whole petty bourgeois revisionist trend, which spans from the revisionist “C”PUSA and Guardian, to Trotskyites and a whole layer of petty bourgeois “radicals,” will openly side with the aggression of Soviet social-imperialism and its Cuban mercenary troops. The issue of Angola has shown how this trend will propagandize for social-imperialism, demonstrate for its “cause,” send money in its support, and slander socialist China and the Third World liberation struggles that fight social-imperialism.
Workers Viewpoint Organization considers “Guardian” outside the communist movement. They are an example of how a right opportunist trend has fully matured and jumped out under rapidly changing conditions. They are an example of how a part of the communist movements through its internal class and ideological basis, has surfaced as revisionist and is “flying a separate flag.”
We applaud the decision made by China Books and Periodicals to dump “Guardian” and urge other comrades to expose and isolate this trend.
* * *
In the past 30 years, we have witnessed tremendous changes in the world situation. The struggle of the world’s oppressed peoples against imperialism and all reaction has propelled the class struggle to higher levels. Everywhere, the contradictions are intensifying and growing more complex. We have seen the birth of socialist China which, today, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and Chairman Mao, is in the vanguard of the international United Front against the Two Superpowers and the imperialist preparation for world war. With every struggle for independence, liberation, and revolution, the Third World is striking deadly blows at imperialism and advancing toward the victories that inevitably await them. We have also seen the Soviet Union degenerate, as a result of the full restoration of capitalism, from a revolutionary socialist country into a socialist imperialist country who has engaged in fierce contention with U.S. Imperialism and who is, today, the main source of the danger of world war.
The struggle in Angola is a very complex one. In order to arrive at a correct understanding of the situation we must base our analysis on the stand, viewpoint and method of the proletariat. The most fundamental question is our stand with the proletariat and oppressed people.
As we said in Vol. 2 #1 of the WV journal, in the article on the “Mini-State”:
The principle task of the young communist movement is to make a fundamental rupture with revisionism and to build an anti-revisionist Communist Party. To make this break from revisionism, however, proletarian internationalism is key. We must draw a clear line of demarcation between ourselves and the modern revisionists.
The first cardinal principle of proletarian internationalism is that we draw a clear line of demarcation between the oppressed nations of the Third World and imperialism. On the one hand, we should unconditionally support all struggles of the Third World countries and peoples for independence, liberation, and revolution, and we support the revolutionary anti-imperialist struggles of the feudalists and national bourgeoisie (who may represent blatant self-interest as long as their struggles are objectively anti-imperialist.
We must also grasp tightly the fundamental principle that it is the Third World proletariat and oppressed people, in the final analysis, who are the moving force behind these anti-imperialist struggles.
What is the stand of the Guardian, the chief representative of centrism on the question of Angola. They say:
Given the relationship of the forces in Angola today it is evident that the principal contradiction facing the country is the struggle of the Angolan people for independence, self-determination, and social progress versus the forces of Western imperialism.......
Regarding the role of the Soviet Union we do not view social imperialism as the principal contradiction in Angola today, although superpower contention here and everywhere else is a factor which cannot be discounted. At times it is the fundamental factor – but not today in Angola – in our opinion.
That is a good example of standing without one’s feet on the ground with the proletariat. That is phrasemongering about “independence, self-determination, and social progress” against U.S. imperialism on the one hand, while negating the struggle against Soviet social imperialism, a fight against both superpowers. Somehow, based on their “opinion”, Soviet social imperialism is not driven by the objective laws of imperialism, which is based on the subjugation, annexation of colonies and export of finance capital. Their reason is that Soviet social imperialism is “not unmindful of what they stand to gain in influence and prestige with other liberation movements throughout the world by supporting that force in Angola which over the years has played the major role in the independence struggle.” They are here speaking of themselves, of course. Only the social-chauvinists, and floating opportunist “internationalists” are “mindful” of the tricks, and maneuvering of the imperialists which split up the Third World and confuse them with “influence and prestige” and worship the appearance and words of the enemy. Communists and revolutionaries are “mindful” only of the prestige and influence that unites the people against imperialism and which come from the persistent and heroic struggles of the masses against imperialism. The Guardian stand is no different than the stand of the revisionists on “detente”, that somehow, imperialism can mean peace for the world.
To justify this bourgeois stand, the Guardian uses the worst kind of hodgepodge, goulash, sloppy-joe methodology that is typical of the bourgeois press. Nowhere is any of their analysis based on dialectical and historical materialism, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought; nothing on the general features of imperialism and the national liberation movement; on the fundamental contradiction that characterize the world today; on the principal contradiction at any given time and place; on the principal aspect of the principal contradiction; nor on the relationship between the principal and secondary contradictions. Instead, their reportage is based on isolated facts; their petty bourgeois common sense; on “eyewitness news” type accounts that are saturated with class prejudices: and on their “popularity contest” approach to line struggle.
They will criticize U.S. aid while praising Soviet aid. They will openly support the blitzkrieg tactics of the Cuban mercenary troops, while denouncing the “atrocities” of the other liberation organisations when they resisted. They will raise the heroic struggles of the Vietnamese and Cambodian peoples while negating the essence and the lessons of those revolutionary victories for national liberation and independence against imperialism. They will quote the word of the leader of one liberation organization who is not Marxist-Leninist as the truth, while denouncing other views as lies. They will support the revisionist “Communist” Party of Soviet Union, while slandering the great and glorious Communist Party of China who, together with the Albanian comrades, have taken the only correct position on the liberation movements in Angola and have historically given it consistent support.
Lenin stated in the “Collapse of the Second International”:
Those who refuse to see the closest and unbreakable link between social-chauvinism and opportunism clutch at the individual instances – this opportunist or another, they say, has turned internationalist; this radical or another has turned chauvinist. But this kind of argument carries no weight as far as the development of trends is concerned.
The Guardian has traveled the road from centrism to outright revisionism. Showing how centrism serves revisionism and draws its strength from it, we said:
The theory of centrism is the theory of the “golden mean,” taking the average of two opposites, balancing out the two aspects of an antagonistic contradiction, staying neutral in the struggle between two lines. Centrism is an eclectic theory of “on the one hand, and on the other...”; on the one hand, the revisionists are correct in a sense and on the other hand, the Marxist-Leninists are correct in a sense, and in this patchwork of bits and pieces, it combines two into one and compromises between revisionism and Marxism-Leninism. So truth becomes all relative; one sees only the relative and not the absolute. Politically, this can only lead to collaboration with the revisionists and the bourgeoisie. But there is no neutral ground in a two-line struggle. Workers Viewpoint Journal, Vol. 2, no. 1, May, 1975, p.29.
The revisionist line of the Guardian which capitulates to and serves as a mouthpiece for the reactionary social-imperialist lies and slanders is not accidental. It comes out of the social basis of the petty bourgeoisie who refuse to see the sharpening antagonism between the oppressors and the oppressed. As Chairman Mao said:
We are opposed to die-hards in the revolutionary ranks whose thinking fails to advance with changing objective circumstances and has manifested itself historically as Right opportunism. These people fail to see that the struggle of opposites has already pushed the objective process forward while their knowledge has stopped at the old stage. “On Practice,” Four Essays on Philosophy, pp.17-11
The line that openly supports the Soviet social imperialism is nothing new or “independent”. It was very strong in the anti-war movement in the 60’s when U.S. imperialism was the No. 1 enemy of the people of the world. It historically took different forms. First, it was “Bring the boys home!” without taking a stand with the Vietnamese liberation movement; then, “Support Bangladesh”, [text missing in original – EROL} sition to socialism” that created the conditions for the fascist coup: then, “Support the “C”P revisionists of Portugal” when they support the fascist ban of the genuine Marxist-Leninists; then, “Support the Mini-State” in Palestine while attacking the revolutionary forces who are waging armed struggle for the total self-determination of the Palestinian people.
Today the class struggle is at a higher level than yesterday. The U.S. imperialists are being exposed and are on the retreat. Posing as the “socialist liberator” of the world, the Soviet social-imperialists are trying to replace their U.S. rivals in the position of top dog. Soviet social-imperialism is more aggressive and is on the relative rise in comparison to U.S. imperialism. The two superpowers are contending heavily and preparing for world war. The imperialists always prepare for world war through local ’wars and conflicts, combined with fake peace like ”detente,” interfering wherever they can. This throws a whole new light on all Third World liberation struggles.
The Angolan people’s struggle is not only a national liberation struggle. It is also a struggle against the rising danger of world war for the oppressed peoples of the world.
The superpower contention and the rising danger of world war is a new condition for revisionism and centrism to jump out. In World War I, the quick change of conditions from “peaceful” capitalism to war exposed Karl Kautsky and the Second International as a bunch of traitors to the proletariat.
In exposing these revisionists, Lenin wrote:
To defend and strengthen their privileged position as a petty-bourgeois “upper stratum” or aristocracy (and) bureaucracy) of the working class – such is the natural wartime continuation of petty-bourgeois opportunist hopes and the corresponding tactics, such is the economic foundation of present-day social-imperialism. And, of course, the force of habit, the routine of relatively “peaceful” evolution, national prejudices, a fear of sharp turns and a disbelief in them – all these were additional circumstances which enhanced both opportunism and hypocritical and a craven reconciliation with opportunism – ostensibly only for a time and only because of extraordinary causes and motives. The war has changed this opportunism, which had been fostered for decades, raised it to a higher stage, increased the number and the variety of its shades augmented the ranks of its adherents enriched their arguments with a multitude of new sophisms, and has merged, so to say, many new streams and rivulets with the mainstream of opportunism. “Collapse of the Second International,” Lenin Collected Works, Vol. 21. (In Against Revisionism, Progress Publishers, pp.251-252).
Escalation of competition and contention between the two superpowers, directly, or more often, indirectly through third countries, will lead to a new world war. The only way to end the danger of world war is to uproot the cause of world war – imperialism. As long as imperialism exists, there will inevitably be potential hotspots for world war constantly to flare up. There will be constant flare-ups. Successful national iiberation struggles and the strength of the Third World have tremendously reduced the danger of world war. It is only when people are divided such as in Europe, Cyprus, and Angola, that the superpowers can jump in and fish in troubled waters. Disunity among the oppressed countries, nations, and peoples are conditions for imperialist contention and world war. Imperialism itself is the main cause, the real basis for war.
Any weaknesses in the Third World, like in Angola, will create the conditions for the superpowers to sneak in with their treacherous, imperialist power politics, which further splits our forces, as in the OAU.
The basis for the contradictions and and differences among the Angolan people exists because of the multi-national character of the state, with its varied regional, tribal, and linguistic groups, and with the varied history of struggle. But these are secondary contradictions. And the Angolan people have shown that they grasp the principal contradiction by uniting to kick the Portuguese imperialists out of Angola and making attempts to forge a coalition government to consolidate the unity and independence of their country. It is the vicious and despicable tricks and maneuvers of the social-imperialists who have split up the Angolan people. By raising the secondary contradictions into the principal one and by negating the real content of the class struggle in the world today, the Guardian is objectively aiding the Soviet social-imperialists’ preparation of world war, aiding the revisionist line against Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought.
The two lines reflect two stands of two opposing classes; one that is dying and reactionary and one that is on the rise and revolutionary.
The WVO upholds the position that the Angolan people have to choose their own government. In the long run, if the MPLA has a correct line, they will win the masses of Angolan people and consolidate their government. If UNITA or FNLA has the correct line, then they will win-over the masses of Angolan people to their side.
But the present MPLA regime is imposed partly by Soviet social-imperialism and Cuban troops and does not represent the voluntary choice of the Angolan people. It is not the result of their internal struggle.
That’s why we still uphold the position of the coalition government as the only correct solution now. The principal danger facing the Angolan people still remains the two superpowers, spearheaded by Cuban mercenary troops and troops of the South African apartheid regime. The coalition government, a particular form of the united front, will enhance the strength of the Angolan people against all foreign imperialists, including the South African regime.
Internal struggle should take place in the context of fighting the superpowers and South Africa. Whichever party proves to be the most staunch and consistent in resisting imperialism and the racist South African regime will be chosen by the Angolan people themselves. That part is inevitable.
The Guardian’s position, which conciliates to the chauvinist slanders and vicious tricks of the social-imperialists is doomed to apologism. That is what happened to them on the “Mini-State” plans and it is the historical, inevitable fate of all opportunists. Lenin once remarked that, as high as high as a chicken can try to fly it will never be higher than the lowest that an eagle can swoop. While riding high on the temporary military victories of the Cuban mercenary troops today, the Guardian will have to apologize for the social-imperialists when the Angolan people march toward their inevitable victory.
The Angolan and all oppressed people will surely win!
KICK THE SUPERPOWERS AND SOUTH AFRICA OUT OF ANGOLA!
PEOPLE OF ANGOLA AND PEOPLE OF THE U.S UNITE!
LONG LIVE THE ANGOLAN PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE AND LIBERATION!
THE ANGOLAN PEOPLE WILL SURELY WIN LIBERATION THROUGH SELF-RELIANCE!
WORKERS AND OPPRESSED PEOPLES OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
 Lenin is referring to the social-imperialists of the Second International who, under the signboard of “socialism,” supported their own monopoly capitalist masters. Today, by social-imperialists we usually mean the revisionists in state power in the Soviet Union.
 It was reported in the Chicago Sun-Times that Al Fatah signed an agreement with the Rejection Front and specifically the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine not to attend the Geneva Peace Conference, called by the social-imperialists to try to push their ”Mini-State” plan on the Palestinian people. The Rejection Front is those liberation forces in the Middle East who reject the ”Mini-State” plan and all such superpower interference. (For deeper analysis of this_ issue, see our article on the Palestinian struggle in WV Journal Vol.2, no.1, May, 1975.)