Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers’ Viewpoint

RCP: Reversing Verdict on Soviet Social Imperialism is Total Treachery

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 2, Nos. 2-3, March-April 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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War and Revolution, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) pamphlet on the international situation, reveals the RCP’s treacherous backsliding on Soviet social-imperialism, as the main danger to the people of the world, and the main source of war in the world today. In their article on Southern Africa, “Can a Leopard Change Its Spots? U.S. Tries ’New Policy’ in Africa,”, p. 34, the RCP never once mentions that the Soviet social-imperialists are the main danger to the struggle of the Southern African peoples. What they do say is “Because of their socialist cover, the New Tsars of the U.S.S.R. have an easier time extending their influence, but their motives are becoming more exposed ” (p. 35). This is nothing but treachery to the liberation movements of the Southern African people, and to the U.S. proletariat. This is nothing but an attempt to prettify and weakly point a finger at the Soviet social-imperialists. This backsliding on the superpower which has “honey on its lips and murder in its heart,” is RCP’s attempt to “reverse the verdict” on Soviet social-imperialism, betray the national liberation movements and mislead the U.S. proletariat.


Who are the main enemies of the peoples of the world? Is Soviet social-imperialism the main danger and main source of war? Is there a difference between the immediate enemy and the main danger? These are crucial questions concerning the present international situation, which a correct understanding of and a correct line on, are essential in order to correctly prepare the U.S. proletariat to carry out its task of overthrowing the U.S. bourgeoisie (itself the most fundamental act of proletarian internationalism) while at the same time giving concrete ideological, political, and material aid to the just struggles of the revolutionary peoples of the world against imperialism, colonialism (old and new), hegemonism, Zionism, racism and all reaction. An understanding of these questions is essential to carrying out the correct propaganda and agitation amongst the U.S. proletariat, educating them to the nature of the present international situation, and in correctly doing support work for national liberation struggles.


The October League (OL) and the RCP in their recent polemics on these questions are causing confusion and misleading the proletariat and progressive people in the U.S., as they continue to carry on their “Abbot and Costello” act in front of the U.S. proletariat and progressive people. Everyone is familiar with the comedy team of Lou Costello, the classic bumbling idiot, and Bud Abbott, also a bumbling idiot, but who in relation to Costello is made to look smart. This has been the history of the line struggles between the OL and the RCP, an “Abbot and Costello” act which is not a comedy, but a treachery to the cause of proletarian revolution. When the OL put forward its completely class collaborationist line on “move the trade unions to the left”, the RCP countered with a “seemingly” more militant line of “rolling on and over” the trade union misleaders, liquidating them as social props and direction of the main blow. When the OL supported the Boston forced busing plan, tailing the liberals and social prop NAACP, the RCP came forward with a “seemingly” more militant opposition to the forced busing plan, but which failed to uphold the demands of the oppressed national minorities, objectively uniting with the Hicks, Kerrigan camp. And so it has been on many question^ the OL coming forward with a bumbling, eclectic, relatively clear revisionist line, and the RCP attempting to make itself look more correct with more militant posturing and sophistry. This “Abbott & Costello” act is still going on, concerning the present international situation.


The two superpowers, U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, are today the biggest international exploiters and oppressors. They are the main enemies of the people of the world, and the main targets of the international united front against imperialism. U.S. imperialism, formerly the single main enemy of the people of the world and main target of the international united front against imperialism, has long since toppled from its pinnacle, but tries desperately to hang on to what it has wrested from the people of the world.

U.S. imperialism started to go downhill after its defeat in the war of aggression against Korea. It has openly admitted that it is increasingly on the decline; it could not but pull out of Viet Nam. (The Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, p. 25)

With the all-round restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, subject to the same laws of imperialism, the Soviet social-imperialists have embarked on the same road as U.S. imperialism. Relying on its rapid swollen military strength, it has joined the imperialist ranks in an attempt to redivide the world, thereby locking itself in fierce contention with U.S. imperialism, a contention which is bound to lead to world war someday, unless the U.S. or Soviet social-imperialist bourgeoisie is overthrown.

As a new rising imperialist power, the Soviet social-imperialists are more aggressive, ambitious, and are throwing their weight around in their attempt to unseat U.S. imperialism and take their place in those areas where it is on the retreat. More and more people are aware of the danger of “letting the tiger in through the back door while repulsing the wolf at the front, gate.”

While one imperialist power has left the scene in defeat, another is taking its place. This is not the first time in the history of Asia and Africa that the tiger arrives when the wolf leaves. In the Middle East, when British and French influence was greatly weakened after World War II, the U.S. imperialists were on hand to fill the so-called ’vacuum’. But even before the U.S. imperialists’ force was driven out the Soviet revisionists massively infiltrated the region. Not long after India freed itself from British colonial rule, the United States extended its influence into that country in the name of providing ’aid’. The Soviet revisionists subsequently tried to elbow out the United States, steadily intensifying their plunder and control of India and subjecting the Indian people to Soviet social imperialist ravage. (Renmin Ribao, July 29, 1975)

This wild attempt on the part of Soviet social-imperialism to unseat U.S. imperialism, and find its place in the sun, is what makes Soviet social-imperialism the main source of world war in the world today.


Aggression, interference, bullying, attempts at control and subversion are the counter-revolutionary activities of the Soviet social-imperialists. Under the signboard of socialism, aid, and friend of the liberation movements, the Soviet social-imperialists never miss an attempt to move in where the U.S. is being kicked out. While the two superpower hegemonists are a real threat to the African continent, “The Kremlin hegemonists are the more dangerous for they pretend to back the African people’s struggle but actually carry out infiltration and expansion everywhere.” (Peking Review #35, August 29, 1975).

In revealing the imperialists who professed sympathy with China during the war against Japanese aggression, Chairman Mao said,

Such friends can only be classed with Li Lin-fu, the prime minister in the Tang Dynasty who was notorious as a man with ’honey on his lips and murder in his heart’. While the U.S. imperialists have long ago been exposed as an imperialist aggressor and an enemy of the people of the world, the Soviet social-imperialists carry out their aggression with “honey on their lips,” wear the signboard of socialism, the signboard of the Party of Lenin and Stalin, but are in fact false friends of the people. “They are counter-revolutionary double dealers and as such more dangerous than known enemies.” (Peking Review #31, August 1, 1975)


Hitting October League’s outright revisionist line, and using sophistry and word magic, the RCP is step by step reversing the verdict on Soviet social-imperialism as the main danger and main source of war.

In the Feb. 1977 issue of Revolution, the RCP says:

The OL’s initial use of the main blow formulation had nothing to do with Stalin’s use of the term. Instead, it made its appearance as one of a group of paraphrases – also including ’main danger,’ ’main source of war’ and so on – which the OL uses to sabotage the Marxist Leninist understanding that on a world scale the people face two main enemies today, U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. All the OL’s ’main’ this and ’main’ that is an attempt to peddle the view that the real main enemy is the USSR.

Now, as we have historically shown, the OL certainly understands nothing about Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought, and butchers every Marxist-Leninist teaching to cover its own petty-bourgeois outlook and program. We also have shown how the OL’s line or the international situation is bound to lead to a social-chauvinist Kautskyite line of “lesser of two evils,” that is, defending one’s own bourgeoisie against another. We have exposed how the OL’s view that the “direction of the main blow” must be aimed at Soviet social-imperialism is nothing but a Kautskyite line of “ultra-imperialism” and once again revealed the unity of the Renegade Kautsky and the Renegade Klonsky. (see Workers Viewpoint newspaper, Vol. 2, #1, Jan. 1977, “Strategy and Tactics: OL and RCP Revise Marxism on the International Situation.”) But the RCP takes the OL (Costello) eclecticism and bumbling, and uses it to make a case for backtracking on Soviet social-imperialism. The RCP (Abbott) takes OL’s distortion of the “direction of the main blow” to make a case (by distorting Chairman Mao’s line) for repudiating Stalin and saying that the “direction of the main blow” does not apply in the U.S. (see WVO newspaper Vol. 2 #1 for a thorough exposure of RCP’s sophistry).

Throughout the RCP’s entire 36 page pamphlet, War and Revolution, they never once mention that Soviet social-imperialism is the main danger and main source of war in the world today. Pretending to be militant again, the RCP poses the essential question as whether or not we stand on overthrowing our own bourgeoisie, since saying that Soviet, social-imperialism is the “main” anything will lead to collaboration with our own bourgeoisie, a la OL. We certainly think that the OL’s use of “main danger” is distorted, incorrect and must be exposed. But the RCP uses OL’s incorrectness to liquidate “main danger” and “main source of war” altogether.

NO RCP! You have set up the OL’s raggedy line in an attempt to sneak in yours! In fact, the RCP is social chauvinist from the “left,” no different than their chauvinist-liquidationist line on the Afro-American National Question. For example, in Boston, the RCP while opposing the forced busing plan, and raising the demand for “quality education for the entire working class”, failed to uphold the right of the national minorities to attend the school of their choice. They pitted the democratic-rights struggle against the struggle of the entire working class. It was an act of betrayal. Pitting the task of overthrowing our own bourgeoisie, against carrying out exposure of Soviet social-imperialism as the main danger and main source of war, is an act of betrayal to the national liberation struggles. In all of the RCP’s latest agitation and propaganda around the liberation struggles m Southern Africa, they never once mention that the Soviet social-imperialists are the main danger to the peoples’ struggle for liberation and independence. Why? Because the RCP thinks that it might “complicate” our task of overthrowing our own bourgeoisie! This is nothing but downright chauvinism and Trotskyism.


To genuine Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary people, the national liberation struggles and struggles of all oppressed and exploited peoples against all imperialism, hegemonism, Zionism, racism, colonialism and all reaction, are concretely an aid to our struggle in the U.S. against the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie. As Lenin and Stalin have pointed out, in the era of imperialism^ the national liberation struggles themselves become part of the world-wide proletarian revolution, because they weaken imperialism and consequently aid proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist countries. And as Chairman Mao has pointed out, “The just struggles of all peoples support each other.” Genuine Marxist-Leninists and revolutionaries do not pit one struggle against another. But to the RCP, doing support work for national liberation movements must be “qualified” by not exposing Soviet social-imperialism as the main danger. This is chauvinism toward the national liberation movements, because to the RCP the real struggle is in the U.S., which must not be “complicated.” This is trotskyism because it reflects a view that belittles the role of the national liberation struggles and does not see them as a component part of the world revolution, is this line of the RCP’s of not exposing Soviet social-imperialism as the main danger, under the cover of “our main task is to overthrow our own bourgeoisie,” any different than their line of not raising up the national demands of the oppressed nationalities and national minorities in the U.S. because it might obscure the “class-wide” demands? Of course not.


In the world today, there is no way that genuine communists can carry out genuine support work for the national liberation struggles without exposing Soviet social-Imperialism as the main danger, and caution the revolutionary peoples to beware of the tiger at the back door while repulsing the wolf through the front gate. The lessons of Angola burn deep in the heart of the revolutionary people the world over, where the Soviet social-imperialists instigated a civil war, called on brothers to fight brothers, sent in Cuban mercenaries, attempted to split and weaken the unity of the (OAU) Organization of African Unity, all in the name of “proletarian internationalism”. The RCP’s “soft line”, which is in essence reversing the verdict on Soviet, social-imperialism, will only serve to drop people’s vigilance on the neo-colonialist strivings of the Soviet social-imperialists, its exploitation under the signboard of “aid,” the danger of world war, and disarm the U.S. proletariat as to the treachery of Modern, Revisionism. But the world’s revolutionary people, drawing more lessons from the Soviet social’-imperialist maneuvering and treachery in the Middle East which helped cause the criminal murder of the heroic Palestinian people in the Tel Al Zatar camps, will reject this attempt by the RCP to sell them out, and help set them up for the kill, by not consistently exposing Soviet social imperialism as the main danger and main source of war – all under the cover o overthrowing our own bourgeoisie.


The RCP’s line on its reverse side belittles the consciousness of the U.S proletariat and revolutionary peoples. To the RCP, to carry out ideological and political work in preparing the U.S. proletariat to turn the imperialist war into a civil war against our own bourgeoisie, and exposing the Soviet social imperialists as the main danger and main source of war, might “confuse” the U.S. proletariat as to its task. This is nothing but a continuation of the RCP’s catering to the lower stratum of the proletariat, belittling the consciousness of the advanced workers and progressive people. To the RCP, in Puerto Rico the Puerto Rican people do not know that their immediate enemy is U.S. imperialism, despite the fact that the masses have shed rivers of blood for decades in their attempt to kick out this monster. To the RCP, the Puerto Rican people cannot possibly grasp the concept and reality, that while kicking out the U.S. imperialists, the immediate enemy, they should be vigilant that the main danger to their liberation struggle is the other superpower who has “honey on his lips and murder in his heart.” No, to the RCP this is simply too much for the Puerto Rican people to grasp, and might “complicate” their struggle. To the RCP, Malcolm X’s advice to the Afro-American people to not only pay attention to the wolf (George Wallace types) but also to the fox (Kennedy types) who is more dangerous because he pats you on the back while at the same time oppressing and exploiting you, is simply too much for the U.S. proletariat to grasp.

This is nothing but the RCP’s thoroughly opportunist pragmatism. the U.S. proletariat is not fighting the Soviet social-imperialist bourgeoisie directly, then “why raise that Soviet social-imperialism is the main danger and source of war in the world today?” This might let our own bourgeoisie off the hook!

Is this not sacrificing the long term interest, that of educating the proletariat to the realities and complexities of the present international situation, to the short term, short-cut, immediate interests, which is the hallmark of opportunism? Do not the advanced workers and U.S. proletariat want communists to explain to them the exact character of the international situation, so that they will be better able to understand what tactics they must employ? Do not the advanced workers and revolutionary peoples want to know the exact character of the struggles their class brothers and sisters around the world are waging against the two main enemies of the world’s people, and the prospects and dangers that they have to face? Do not the masses want the communists to “Tell no lies and claim no easy victories”? How else can they understand a situation like Angola and be prepared to take a correct stand?


But the RCP in stooping to even lower levels of sophistry, in order to cover its raggedy line, inevitably has to come against the line of Chairman Mao and the CPC. As we have shown before, the CPC put forward that the Soviet social-imperialists are the main danger to the people of Asia, Africa, and Latin America in their struggle against the two superpowers.

More and more African countries and people have come to realize that superpower rivalry is the root cause of intranquility in the African continent. The aggression and expansion of that superpower, which claims to be the ’natural ally’ of the African countries and people, have become the primary threat (emphasis – ed.) to the independence and security of the African countries. (Peking Review #29, July 16, 1976)

Certainly, the danger of attack on China comes mainly from the Soviet social imperialists. Certainly the Soviet social-imperialists are the main danger to China. Certainly, because the CPC is a Party in state power, they are, on a state-to-state level, in a position to make use of contradictions between the US imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists, make certain compromises that give the revolutionary people the world over more time to “get prepared”. Certainly, Parties and revolutionaries out of state power must not follow suit on every compromise. This is the Marxist Leninist understanding of the present situation.

On page 31 of the pamphlet War & Revolution, the RCP says,

In the present situation, China, recognizing the fact that the Soviet Union is overall on the offensive is giving special emphasis to making use of contradictions – even those between the US and Soviet imperialists, – to place obstacles in the path of Soviet expansion. This China does in order to delay the outbreak of war and to make the conditions more favorable for the masses of people and their revolutionary leadership to develop their struggles, strengthen their forces and get prepared to continue the struggle under the conditions of world war, should it break out from superpower contention.

The Chinese also do this in order to make it more difficult to launch an attack on China. And as a part of strengthening the forces of the working class and its allies worldwide, China is paying serious attention to preparing itself for defense against attack. Under the present conditions the greatest danger of such attack comes from the Soviet social-imperialists.

Without addressing the question of whether the Soviet social-imperialists are the main danger to the people of the world and not only to China, the RCP obviously wants people to believe that the CPC’s “main danger” line is only in defense of China and not a necessary line in the interest of the world’s people struggling against both superpowers. The RCP implies that the CPC is putting forward this main danger line out of “self-interest”, and making compromises on the main danger, that we should not make, not on an appraisal of the current international situation and a penetrating understanding of Soviet social-imperialism.

As we have pointed out before, the RCP represents a thoroughly consolidated militant economist trend, characterized by pragmatism and liquidationist chauvinism. This trend which has so clearly revealed itself on many other questions faring the US proletariat, has now revealed itself sharply on the international situation. It reaffirms the WVO’s penetrating summation of the opportunist trends in the workers movement – “individuals may be won away, but the trend cannot be turned back,”


Conditioned by the fact that the RCP has run dry, and now has to reach out to absorb those elements that it called to its conference to “debate” the international situation – namely “those who stood together in the anti-war movement,” the RCP is making an appeal to many of those persons who have a “blind-spot” on Soviet social-imperialism. As we said in our WVO newspaper Vol. 2 #1 Jan. 1977, “Supplement: ATM: Social Democrats From the National Movement”:

The fact that this centrism on the international situation and this veiled or open defense of Soviet Social-Imperialism has arisen in every opportunist corner of the U.S. communist movement shows that this is not an accident. Its historical roots are dug in the features of the world situation and the U.S. revolutionary movements of the 1960’s.

Through the 1960’s and the whole post-World War II period, the independence and liberation movements of the oppressed nations flowed in waves unprecedented in the world’s history, inspiring and supporting workers around the world. In the U.S., the revolutionary movements that swept the country, led by the national and student movements, brought forward thousands of advanced fighters who dared to deny the U.S. monopoly capitalist and fought for their overthrow, and who gave up blood and lives in support of the national liberation struggles abroad.

Both in theory and practice, these advanced fighters in the U.S. despised and fought the revisionist “C”PUSA and “C”PSU and their theories of “peaceful transition,” “peaceful co-existence,” and “peaceful competition.” These revisionists called for “peaceful co-existence” between oppressed and oppressor, to smother the revolutionary class and national struggles.

They opposed every revolutionary liberation war on the grounds that they might provoke the imperialists to start a nuclear war which would supposedly destroy mankind, and accused the CPC of “warmongering” for their international support for these revolutionary wars. These revisionists even accused the CPC of “petty bourgeois nationalism” and of counterposing the oppressed nations’ struggles against the proletarian struggle in the capitalist countries, while they themselves counterposed the two to liquidate both, and first of all the national liberation movements. But following the lead of the CPC, the advanced elements in the U.S. fought and died for the Third World movements, drawing an indelible line between oppressed and oppressor nations and supporting the national liberation struggles like their own.

For many of these advanced fighters in the U.S., this baptism in struggle against the U.S. monopoly capitalists and against revisionism was the first step towards Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought.

But who really assimilated the stand, viewpoint, and method of MLMTTT and who did not is not revealed all at once, but only step by step, as the objective class struggle and the two-line struggles advance and change form, and disclose one deviation after another. In regards to the international situation, one of the most, important objective changes is the rise of Soviet Social-Imperialism and the danger of world war.

This change in the international situation, the sharpening contention between the two superpowers, realignment and great disorder in the world, the rising trend of revolution, has given rise to opportunism amongst all those forces who were unable to assimilate Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought, nor grasp the nature of Soviet social-imperialism and still somehow want to believe that US imperialism is more evil. This is the stuff that the RCP themselves are made out of. In addition, these are the elements that the RCP is seeking to unite with and consequently themselves have to backtrack on Soviet social-imperialism.

As Lenin has described, “every more or less ’new’ question, every more or less unexpected and unforseen turn of events, even though it change the basic line of development only to an insignificant degree and only for the briefest period, will always inevitably give rise to one variety of revisionism or another.” (“Marxism & Revisionism”, In Against Revisionism)

Once again, the opportunist manuevering of the RCP clearly reveals that the petty-bourgeoisie along with the labor aristocracy is a source of revisionism and opportunism in the workers’ movement. But the advanced workers and revolutionary people will surely reject this latest attempt by the RCP to spread confusion among its ranks. They will certainly tell the RCP and the OL to take this “Abbott and Costello” act back to Hollywood where it belongs, for they are about the serious business of making immediate and universal preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat!