Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

C. W. Li

Defend Mao’s Theory of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds Against Trotskyism and Revisionism

The Third World and U.S. Proletarian Revolution in the 80’s


First Published: The 80’s, “Special Edition,” n.d. [1980].
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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At the threshold of the 1980s, the events in Iran, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe have brought into sharp focus the world’s division into three parts. In the third world, the powerful anti-imperialist revolution of the Iranian people led by a Moslem clergyman, Ayatollah Khomeini, has dealt a serious defeat to the crisis-ridden U.S. imperialists and Soviet social-imperialists of the first world. And in the second world countries of Europe and Japan – heavily dependent on Iranian oil – sharp struggle broke out with the U.S. over Chase Manhattan’s and Morgan Guaranty Trust’s seizure of Iranian assets in U.S. branch banks in Europe. This has fueled the already sharp contradictions between the first and second worlds.

Most important for the U.S. people, this historic trend of the world’s division into three parts has profound effects on the prospects for proletarian seizure of state power in the U.S. You can’t understand the unprecedented depth of the economic and political crisis in the U.S. and the tasks of the proletarian party, the Communist Workers Party, U.S.A. in preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the 1980s without understanding the Three Worlds. The U.S. bourgeoisie’s avenues of exporting the crisis blocked and their source of bribery – imperialist superprofits – shrinking because of the struggle of the third and second worlds, means another chance for the proletariat to seize state power is coming up – the third in this century.

Wracked by internal crisis, the U.S. bourgeoisie has to go to war and impose fascism at home. Soviet social-imperialism is a latecomer and a more dangerous source of war. The 1980s ushers in the trend toward world war and fascism with the trend toward revolution contending fiercely at a higher level than the late 1940s and early 1950s and immediately after the capitalist destabilization after World War II.

Thus, to correctly and confidently prepare for the monumental struggles ahead, communists and all revolutionaries must tightly grasp Mao Tsetung’s great strategic concept of the Three Worlds. We cannot fully appreciate the dangers and exploit the historic opportunities opening up in the U.S. as well as for the workers and oppressed the world over without a deep appreciation of the concrete alignment of the four fundamental contradictions and the balance of forces in favor of the world’s peoples expressed in the developed trend of the Three Worlds.

This is still the era of imperialism. That’s a crucial part of our class analysis in knowing who our friends and our enemies are. After World War II, there were two camps – the socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union and the camp of U.S. imperialism with Europe and Japan under its wing. To attack the socialist camp, the camp of imperialism had to attack a vast intermediate zone in-between – the vast area of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The pivotal factor that basically changed the world balance of forces aligned against imperialism after World War II was the restoration of capitalism in the USSR and its development as a social-imperialist country.

The 1960s were a time when the camp of imperialists headed by the U.S. began disintegrating. With countries like France and England increasingly splitting with the U.S. over the Suez Canal and other questions, the 1960s and 1970s marked the continuation of this trend as increasingly these smaller countries got on their feet economically and away from U.S. control. However, the 1970s saw an even greater split between the U.S. imperialists and the small countries as the effect of the defeat in Vietnam started to take its toll world-wide in the economic, political, and other spheres.

At the same time, the contradiction between the Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union also sharpened as their state monopoly capitalism ran into problems at home.

The third world rose in storm after World War II through national liberation struggles, fighting for independence from old colonial powers and against neocolonialism. In the 1960s and 1970s, through organizations of raw material-producing countries such as OPEC, regional blocs like the Arab states and the front-line countries in Southern Africa, the objectively anti-imperialist non-aligned movement started to gain momentum. This became evident in the United Nations where the will of the majority – the third world countries – prevails for the first time ever in history. This has dealt the blackmail politics of the U.S. and USSR a severe and irreversible blow. The third world has emerged as a new factor for the first time in international relations, visibly marking an upside-down change since the colonial and neo-colonial eras and marking a vivid change since World War I and World War II. Thus with the differentiation of the three worlds in the 1950s, 1960s and especially the 1970s there seems at least in appearance to be a fragmented world, with a dynamic tendency of more and more parts differentiating.

Instead of the beginning but simmering national liberation struggles of the late 1800s and early 1920s and 1930s, today all fronts are moving simultaneously. All fronts are in ferment. All four basic contradictions are interdependent as well as struggling with each other vigorously. It’s an inflammable situation politically world-wide. Politically the movement of countries want independence, of the third and even second worlds (regardless of which class is in leadership), actually aid in isolating one or the other superpower – the mainstays of reaction and the main problem in the world. Thus independent of any individual’s will, the movement of countries want independence aids national liberation and people’s revolution, including the proletarian revolution in those very countries.

The victory of the proletariat in the real world of imperialism – with the uneven development of the economic bases of various countries – does not develop in a straight line in internal class forms alone. It takes manifold and varied forms of classes, nations, countries, regions, and economic and political blocs. This includes even the imperialists’ fight for redivision in a world where the masses are increasingly rising up. There is today a greater danger of world war and reaction in various countries. However, from the standpoint of the world historical revolutionary process, even defeats and setbacks in individual class struggles (for instance, in China) pave the road for two steps forward and our eventual victory.

The overall trend is unmistakeable – the various parts contradict and aid each other and as a whole result in the weakening of the two superpowers. And the victory is won through fight, fail, fight, fail again, fight again, each time gaining more experience, enriching the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and preparing the proletariat to gain strength until the point of no return, as Marx put it.


But the revisionists, like the New Tsars in the Soviet Union and the revisionists in power in China, attack the Three Worlds concept. The Soviet attack the line by saying the countries of the third world cannot achieve genuine independence through self-reliance and have to rely on the Soviet-superpower–as Castro stated in his speech in Ethiopia in 1978. And they attack the Three Worlds by saying that Khomeini and the Afghan people battling the Soviet invaders are “reactionary feudalists” – making ideology the main criterion, not the concrete political effects of their struggles against the superpowers. This is exactly the same line that they used to pit liberation groups against each other in Angola, leading to the bloodiest civil war Angola had ever seen, with more casualties than the war for liberation against the Portuguese. With the same line they supported their agents, the Katanganese Gendarmes, in invading Zaire under the guise of overthrowing the “reactionary Mobutu.”

Picking up the line extended to them from the New Tsars, the centrists (some are increasingly siding with Soviet social-imperialism like the Philadelphia Workers Organizing Committee, PWOC) and revisionists like the Guardian use the very same arguments. On issue after issue, from Khomeini’s role in Iran to Angola and Zaire, the centrists attack the non-proletarian leaders and heads of state in third world countries, using the ideology as the basis to differentiate, and not using their concrete political actions in the context of imperialism. That’s why, for instance, the Guardian pushes out the same line on Khomeini as the Soviet Union and the U.S. imperialists (allegedly CIA-associated) Gloria Steinem and Kate Millet. They call him a reactionary feudalist for denying women’s rights in the abstract and for closing down newspapers run by Soviet agents like the Tudeh Party in Iran. On the question of the Three Worlds, then, the relation between the centrists and the revisionists is that by picking up the arguments of the revisionists, the centrists provide direct support to the revisionist position attacking the Three Worlds.

Trotskyites like the renegade Hoxha and the Albanian Party of Labor, and in this country the “Revolutionary Communist” Party – as the Progressive Labor Party before it – attack the Three Worlds under the signboard of “anti-revisionism.” Though the main danger comes from the revisionists on this question – the bankrupt lines of the Soviet Union and China – our article defends Mao Tsetung Thought mainly against these Trotskyites.

Why? Because the change of line by the revisionists of the Communist Party of China is abrupt and pretty clear-cut. In two years, the line has changed 180 degrees. So the change is clear and in that sense exposes the revisionist line to those who followed China’s line in the 1960s and 1970s when Mao’s line was in command. When the CPC revisionists say the U.S. should be relied on to fight the Soviets, negating the fact that the third world, and most importantly the people of the third world, are the main force against imperialism today, the CPC revisionists’ line is obviously bankrupt to most honest revolutionaries and communists, especially those who followed and were sympathetic to the CPC before the Hua/Teng cliques’ counterrevolutionary coup d’etat. When Teng Hsaio-ping calls the Iranian revolution “troublesome” as Hua Kuo-feng walks on the corpses of the Iranian people by visiting the Shah at the height of the struggle – as Khomeini put it – even die-hard supporters of these revisionists scabs like the “Communist Party (Marxist-Leninists)” and the League of “Revolutionary” Struggle, choke on their words.

However, the Soviet line of being the “natural ally of the national liberation struggle” and their line that countries of the third world cannot achieve genuine independence through self-reliance and have to rely on the Soviet superpower is not nearly so exposed (although the trend is for it to be exposed also, especially since Afghanistan). This is where the Trotskyite line comes in, for it serves to prop up the Soviet Union’s social-imperialist line, with Trots acting as agents for their line. By saying, for instance, that the U.S. “is on the offensive” as the renegade Hoxha says, or that the U.S. is “consolidating” as the “Communist” Labor Party did in 1974, the Trots help the Soviets’ campaign for world hegemony as well as show their bourgeois pessimism.

And the Trots such as “R-R-Revolutionary Communist” Party and PLP aid the Soviet revisionists and the U.S. imperialists when they attack representatives of the third world national bourgeoisie like Khomeini as a “reactionary-feudalist,” copping the line from the Soviets that “ideology”, not politics, is the key factor. They end up praising the subversive Soviet and U.S. agents among the Kurds in Iran as “progressive.” Many times, the Soviets have used the demagogic trick of labeling those who fight the imperialists as either “progressive” or “reactionary” to split them up so the Soviets can take over – as in Angola. Thus although the form is Trotskyite, the line actually serves the main danger, the revisionist line of the Soviet Union.

Today, the Communist Workers Party, U.S.A. is one of the few communist parties that upholds and fights for Mao’s great strategic concept of the Three Worlds as well as Mao’s correct line on the dictatorship of the proletariat against the revisionist leadership of the CPC. These two questions show how one trend covers another. Under the cover of opposing revisionism in China, the Trots jumped out full bloom on the question of the Three Worlds, throwing practically every teaching of Lenin, Stalin and especially Mao out the window. Under this guise the Albanian Party of Labor jumped out and exposed themselves as the Trots they are, though they had a Trot line before Mao’s death and their practice showed it. Their opportunism and demagoguery has done damage to the communist movement, pulling as it has the weaker and immature communists into the swamp of Trotskyism and revisionism, and giving theoretical ammunition for the opportunists to carry out their reactionary attacks.

Therefore, though unique, the correct line of the Communist Workers Party is the only correct position today. In this article we present one part of this line on Mao’s great strategic concept of the Three Worlds. And we do it the only way it can be done – through a comprehensive historical analysis showing the strategic significance of the question and the historic implications the Three Worlds has for prospects for proletarian revolution in the U.S., other advanced capitalist countries and throughout the world.

A. Both Trots and Revisionists Deny the Marxist Truth that the Third World’s Fight for Countries’ Independence and National Liberation Weakens the Superpowers and Serves the People’s and Proletarian Revolution in All Countries

The counter-revolutionary sect, the “RC”P, has attacked the heroic fight of the Zimbabwean people. Blinded by their chauvinist faith in the strength of the two superpowers, the Trotskyite “RC”P does not believe that a third world country can fight off imperialism. In their March 7, 1980 ragsheet, “Revolutionary” Worker, they call ZANU’s victory a “shameless capitulation and sellout of the struggle of the Zimbabwean people.” This is nothing new. “RC”P is following the PLP’s beaten path of Trotskyism. Right after the Sandinista National Liberation Front (SNLF) had waged armed struggle, kicked out U.S. imperialism and formed a national front government in Nicaragua, PLP jumped out and screamed “turn the guns against the SNLF.” This is exactly what “RC”P is saying. When ZANU needs the most support, “RC”P shouts “turn the guns against Mugabe and ZANU!” The only difference between PLP and “RC”P is that “RC”P is afraid to openly drop Mao Tsetung Thought and the need to support struggles for democratic and anti-imperialist governments in third world countries. Blinded by their Trotskyism, both the “RC”P and the PLP fail completely to see how the national liberation struggles of the third world directly aid the preparation for revolution here in the U.S.

With the seizure of the U.S. embassy (read spy-base) in Teheran, the Trot “RC”P after viciously attacking the Iranian revolution had the rug pulled out from under them. They are forced to mutate their line to avoid being openly allied with the superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, formerly centrist and now revisionist forces like the Guardian, which before attacked the Iranian revolution and Khomeini for denying women’s rights and freedom of the press in the abstract, have also been forced to deodorize their coverage for fear of smelling too openly pro-imperialist.

Their basic argument is that Khomeini is losing his grip on Iran and thus he either instigated or supports the action of the students to keep himself in power. On November 14, 1979, the Guardian came right out and said: “Many observers have speculated that the protest was organized with Khomeini’s blessings in order to divert attention from increasing internal problems. High unemployment continues to plague the economy, housing and other necessities are in short supply, and the contradictions with Khomeini’s policies continue to mount.” This was repeated on December 19: “At the same time, significant opposition to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s use of the crisis to consolidate the control of the country by the Shiite clergy, headed by himself, has simmered just below the surface.” (This is from an article titled “Internal Contradictions Plague Iran.”)

The Trotskyite “RC”P has never for a moment hidden its hatred for the Iranian government led by Ayatollah Khomeini. The pages of its newspaper are filled with feature-length articles on the subject. “...the Khomeini-Bazargan government has clamped down on the workers’ struggles in all spheres. . .” It calls a Deputy Prime Minister of the government a “. . . reactionary whose crimes against the Kurdish people rival those committed by the butchers of the Shah’s regime. . .” And again, “Meanwhile, the head of the government’s ’revolutionary courts’, Ayatollah Khalkali, bloodied his hands with another 20 executions. . . ” and “. . .recently they have even set up a “special task force,” little different from those organized by SAVAK under the Shah to attack the proletarian movement.” And summing up their line on the government, they say “. . . the Khomeini-Bazargan government’s desperate lashing out at the Kurds is a sign of its underlying weakness and its reactionary nature.”

The confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over the “hostage” question and Khomeini’s staunch stand, however, have forced these political speculators to quietly mutate their position on the “reactionary nature” of the Iranian government and Ayatollah Khomeini in their December 7, 1979 issue of “Revolutionary” Worker. There they state “While Khomeini most certainly cannot be relied on to continue the struggle, nevertheless his present stand is an opportunity for the Iranian people to step up their fight against imperialism. And the stand of the U.S. proletariat must be to support this and all manifestations of genuine national and patriotic resistance in Iran and countries like it, that weaken our common enemy. When faced with the choice between Khomeini and the revolutionary struggle of the Iranian proletariat and the oppressed masses, we will definitely choose the latter. But when faced with a choice between Khomeini and the U.S. imperialists we will definitely choose Khomeini!”

What the “RC”P wants to ignore here is simply the reality of imperialism. They accidentally forgot that the problem is the imperialists have “deprived” a clear cut and simple “choice” to all revolutions in oppressed nations, forcing the pretended choice between the national bourgeoisie and the proletariat or between the imperialists and the national bourgeoisie. Moreover, who is the revolutionary proletariat? In a number of third world countries it practically doesn’t exist. The “RC”P is blinded to the question of how you develop the proletariat in the crucible of real class struggle.

Thus, even after a half-century of struggle against Trotskyism in the ranks of the proletariat, the “RC”P still mumbles Trotsky’s famous words, “If I had a choice ...”

But the reactionary Trotskyite, pro-imperialist thrust of the “RCP”s line can’t be missed. They reiterate that Khomeini is using the embassy takeover by the students to push his own ends – getting through the newly-drafted constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This in itself is ridiculous as the constitution was supported by the vast majority of the population in a voting turnout of way over 95%. It shows, however, that the “RC”P echoes the ladies and gentlemen of the Guardian and the real position of the Soviet bosses in their common complaint that Khomeini is using the crisis to shore up his power base in Iran.

Blinded by their Trotskyite and revisionist world outlook, the “RC”P, Guardian and other assorted political speculators can’t possibly understand what is actually going on – the position that Khomeini is taking, his relation to the people’s movement and the nature of the third world national bourgeoisie in the era of imperialism. They always see only the struggle aspect between Khomeini and other national bourgeoisie, on the one hand, and the masses on the other. This is metaphysical through and through. It liquidates the forefront question in a third world country – the fight against the two superpowers” aggression and subversion. It liquidates the unity aspect in the united front against the two superpowers.

Because the Trots deny the objective situation of the various classes under imperialism, they are reduced to attacking Khomeini as a religious fanatic, echoing imperialist media like Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. Before the embassy takeover, the “RC”P never mentioned a word about the dual aspect of the national bourgeoisie or its representative, Khomeini, in relation to the movement for people’s revolution. On the one hand, the national bourgeoisie of a third world country fight imperialism because they want to run the country for their own material interest free from superpower plunder and interference. On the other hand, they vacillate and can go over to one or another imperialist power if they are threatened by the people’s movement. That’s why for the proletariat there is both unity and struggle in the united front with them in protecting the country’s independence and national liberation.

But in the era of imperialism, for third world countries the bottom line is whether or not they resist imperialism, no matter what class the leaders come from, their views or even their motives. Whatever they do to fight imperialism weakens it directly and aids the world’s peoples in fighting their main enemies, the U.S. and Soviet Union. That’s the main and fundamental criterion in the era of imperialism.

The “RC”P are bourgeois psychologists. As reactionary idealists, they believe the motives of an individual determine the objective effects of the third world countries’ and peoples’ fight against imperialism. This is an anti-materialist and anti-communist outlook. Though a Moslem clergyman, a religious believer in god, Khomeini is part of the Iranian national united front opposing both superpowers. His objective political practice (i.e., his fight for Iran’s national independence) proves him to be a relatively consistent anti-imperialist – regardless of his ideology. As Chairman Mao summed up: “No matter what classes, parties or individuals in an oppressed nation join the revolution, and no matter whether they themselves are conscious of the point or understand it, so long as they oppose imperialism, their revolution becomes part of the proletarian-socialist world revolution and they became its allies.” (“On New Democracy.” Selected Works, Vol. II, pp.343-344) For communists, who are dialectical materialists, there is unity and struggle between motive and effect: the question is: in the era of imperialism, do we look at an individual’s ideology by itself or do we look at the political actions and effects on the superpowers? Even honest working class leaders are affected by some form of bourgeois ideology. But the course of events – fighting shoulder to shoulder and under our leadership against the bourgeoisie, with communist agitation and propaganda done day-to-day on all events of all classes – brings them over to become or support communists regardless of certain ideological problems inherited from capitalist society.

Thus, to hit Khomeini on the basis that he is using the movement for Iran’s independence to try to consolidate his role completely begs the question of his objective role at this time, as well as the present character and motive force of revolution. The question is: regardless of who leads the Iranian revolution, is it anti-imperialist or not? Only by grasping this question correctly and proceeding from there can the proletarian revolution be pushed forward in Iran. Stalin was very clear on this point – no matter what they call themselves or what they believe, the fight waged by a feudalist like the Emir of Afghanistan is objectively revolutionary while those socialists who supported their own imperialist bourgeoisie in World War I are worthless reactionaries. As he said, “The revolutionary character of a national movement under the conditions of imperialist oppression does not necessarily presuppose the existence of proletarian elements in the movement, the existence of a revolutionary or a republican programme of the movement, the existence of a democratic basis of the movement. The struggle that the Emir of Afghanistan is waging for the independence of Afghanistan is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the monarchist views of the Emir and his associates, for it weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism; whereas the struggle waged by such “desperate” democrats and “socialists,” “revolutionaries” and republicans as, for example . . . during the imperialist war was a reactionary struggle, for its result was the embellishment, the strengthening, the victory of imperialism.” (Foundations of Leninism, p.75-76) This is precisely why even if Iran’s government is run by “conservative Muslim clergy” it makes not a whit of difference with regard to the anti-imperialist nature of the struggle. In fact the Soviet revisionists are masters at making false distinctions to cover up their speculating on one national liberation group against another, thus splitting up genuine national liberation movements, as in Angola. There, they called the MPLA “socialist” and the other national liberation groups – who also fought the Portuguese colonialists – “reactionary.” By engaging in this name-calling in pursuit of their superpower aims, they liquidate the main criterion – whether or not these groups fight imperialism. In politics, words are cheap. It’s what you do that counts.

In action, what is the motive force in history? Is it the people of the world, like the third world people’s striving for self-reliance, cutting off the hand of imperialist plunder and domination, the line Khomeini is taking? Is it possible to be self-reliant or not? By the way, even the Wall Street Journal admits that Iran is becoming more self-sufficient in food, with wheat crops increasing since the Shah’s fall because of the revolution’s unleashing the Iranian people. Or is it Castro, Ethiopia’s Mengistu and the Soviet-dominated ruling clique in Afghanistan who go to Moscow and beg for aid on their knees? Castro has gone so far as to say that it is impossible for the third world to be self-reliant and therefore it must rely on the Soviets, basically condemning those countries to continued oppression by imperialism, like Cuba itself.

Whether or not you fight imperialism is the fundamental line of demarcation in the era of imperialism. And any other distinctions are irrelevant at best, and sinister at worst, outside the context of that fundamental distinction.

There are relatively more progressive and consistently anti-imperialist elements as well as relatively backward. But our fundamental stand is to encourage and support any and all opposition to the superpowers, including the Soviet Union.


As we stated in Workers Viewpoint Journal 5 in 1978: Revisionists, Trotskyites and some U.S. Pan-Africanists raise the point that Mobutu is a “comprador” who oppresses the Zairean people and therefore must be overthrown by any means. The Pan Africanists denounce the oppression of the people and want Mobutu overthrown, but are blinded to the larger picture, the struggle against the main enemies of the people of the world, the Soviet and U.S. superpowers, and end up with an incorrect line on the question. The revisionists, on the other hand, not giving a damn about the interests of the third world, but out to serve the chauvinist national – that is, imperialist – interests of the Soviet New Tsars, use the position to justify Soviet aggression against the third and second worlds.

In November 1965, Joseph D. Mobutu, then a major general and commander of the army, dissolved the civilian government and proclaimed himself president. Whatever his origin, Mobutu did play the historic role of unifying Zaire and keeping it unified under his regime. An example of this was his embarking upon a policy of “authenticity” which involved the adoption of African names for people, places and things to solidify national unity. And in 1967 he nationalized the country’s largest mining company, the Belgian-owned Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, which became the General Congolese Ore Company. He did this because he has his own interest to protect as a bourgeoisie of a third world country. He wants to protect the interests of his class – to keep. Zaire’s market and labor for themselves to exploit. But also because of this Mobutu opposes the imperialists and their attempts to dismember his country, and he takes certain progressive stands with the third world like opposing Portuguese colonialism in Africa. Thus, although helpless before the onslaught of the imperialists and having to call on one to help drive off the other, he has interests to protect from the imperialist powers.

The development of this national interest and alongside it the opposition to imperialism from rulers such as Mobutu is due to a great extent to a new factor in history – the rise of the third world. After World War II, many colonies were granted formal independence by their colonial masters but rulers were set up backed by the U.S. or the former colonial powers. This was the case with Marcos of the Philippines, Sukarno of Indonesia, as well as Mobutu. Although backed by imperialists, they developed national interests which ran counter to the imperialists’ wishes. Examples are Diem of Vietnam and Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, both of whom were overthrown and murdered by the same superpower that originally backed them, the U.S., exactly because they were developing independent interests.

This process was propelled forward with the growing strength of the third world as a new contemporary anti-imperialist force. With the development of this factor, rulers like Mobutu latched onto it to defend his own interests, such as protecting resources like oil, copper, coffee, etc. Therefore, when we look at rulers like Mobutu, we must see the overall and real trend and motion and not get stuck with rigid metaphysical conceptions (“either he’s all for Zaire or all for imperialism”) outside the development of the international situation.

Many of the rulers of the third world were comprador bourgeoisie (which is by no means a rigid definition when applied to real life), but they can now develop into national bourgeoisie with dual aspects – on the one hand against imperialism to protect their class interest, and on the other hand exploiting and oppressing their own peoples. Often but not as a rule (like Sadat of Egypt), they side with imperialists when the people are ready and rising up to overthrow them, by the very class nature of the national bourgeoisie in the era of imperialism, they are unstable. No national bourgeoisie is totally consistent against imperialism. They differ only in degree, and the degree certainly varies with the times.

So definitely the proletarian parties and socialist countries can facilitate and benefit from the development of the anti-imperialist aspect, that is, understanding the laws that govern them and adopting correct policies to encourage the progressive aspects while maintaining independence. For example, the proletarian parties in imperialist countries by opposing their own bourgeoisie’s imperialist measures can expose and pressure them to stop outright invasion and covert interference. This not only helps to educate the masses in the imperialist countries about the nature of the government, but can facilitate the development of the world-wide struggle against imperialism. Socialist countries, for example, can develop genuine mutually beneficial trade relations and aid the third world countries so as to lessen their dependence on imperialist powers and strengthen their national independence, which in turn naturally weakens the imperialists.

Regardless of how some of these rulers came into power after World War II, most of them did ride into power with ties to one imperialist power or another, since many of the third world countries got political independence through political negotiations and not through straight military victory. The imperialists certainly prefer these rulers over communists and more consistent anti-imperialist nationalists. But again times have changed. And the larger motion of the third world has made some of these rulers more conscious of their own class interest, which is tied to national interests.

But there are instances when we have to criticize the national bourgeoisie. When Mobutu called in the French and Belgian troops during the invasion by the Soviet-backed and instigated Katanganese Gendarmes, this was not in the national interest of Zaire. Once the French and Belgians got in they proceeded to take control of the economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) took over the financial ministry of Zaire. Imperialist banks moved in to force an austerity program on Zaire. It’s one thing for Mobutu to take arms from the one imperialist to fight another but it is not in the national interest of Zaire to invite the imperialist troops in.

The other instance was the invasion of Uganda by Julius Nyerere in March 1979 under the pretext that Amin was a fascist butcher and “human rights” violator. Definitely Amin has to be overthrown, but this should be done by the Ugandan people not 15,000 Tanzanian troops. Nyerere’s act not only constitutes a violation of Uganda’s sovereignty, but more importantly it gives the imperialists a pretext to invade either Uganda or Tanzania in the future. Nyerere’s argument is no different from the argument of the Israeli Zionists who claim that Africa is backward because you have feudal rulers like Amin who murder the people, so that the Israeli Zionists must go in and “civilize” the Africans.

Many people supported Nyerere claiming that Tanzania is progressive while Uganda is reactionary. But this put the question outside the era of imperialism. This is the same as Angola when the Soviet Union claimed that the MPLA was the only progressive national liberation group while the other” groups were reactionary, as a means to bring MPLA to power and try to make Angola a neo-colony. On the question of Uganda, Nyerere’s justification is no different from the imperialists’ and Zionists’. It has set a serious precedent for the imperialists to launch a future invasion of both Tanzania and Uganda. And today the Ugandan people are no closer to liberation.

Why is it crucial to support the sovereignty of Uganda and Zaire, even with the oppressive regime of someone like Amin or Mobutu? How does it fit into the struggle against imperialism, especially the two superpowers, and in the final analysis against all reaction?

The consolidation of third world countries into nations and having genuine independence is against the interests of imperialism. Imperialists’ interests force them to intervene everywhere and violate all nations’ sovereignty in order to be able to export capital, seize and exploit sources of raw materials, dominate markets and superexploit labor. Therefore, political sovereignty of nations hinders or prevents them from carrying out their goals. Communists must take a consistent stand for the safeguarding of the third world’s national sovereignty. To allow any imperialist or other sovereign country to violate Zaire’s sovereignty through the use of mercenaries, with a proxy army, under the cover of “national liberation” or worse, justifying it, is to throw open the gates for the superpowers to invade and undercut sovereignty with impunity anywhere in the world. It would allow the superpowers to run rampant into any third world country with the flimsiest of reasons, including Carter’s bogus “human rights” smokescreen.

Thus to consistently fight imperialism, especially the two superpowers, we must first of all support the national sovereignty of third world and second world countries, and every move made by leaders like Mobutu or the Philippines’ Marcos insofar as they take stands (as in OPEC) against the imperialists. An example is Mobutu’s struggle against Portuguese colonialism and the recognition of the People’s Republic of China. This aids the struggle for national liberation, because imperialism is the main prop of reaction in third world countries and thus whatever weakens imperialism on a world scale also surely weakens internal reaction. Those who blindly oppose Mobutu without looking at the concrete political content of his acts in fact aid the two superpowers to whip up contradictions among third world countries, and among different nationalities and nations within.

The situation in Ethiopia and Somalia is an example, where the Soviet Union armed both third world countries. To the extent that they can, the Soviets will always use differences and make them antagonistic, weaken the country and carry out their interference and domination, in contention with other imperialists to be top dog imperialist. This is an objective law governing imperialism. Therefore, communists must support the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which says differences such as on borders should be settled through peaceful negotiations and through mutual consultation.


The peoples of third world countries will determine their own future. It is a law of history that the proletariat and the peasantry will grasp Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought themselves and from their own experiences, with the help of communists, and apply it to the actual conditions in their own country. This is the way that the fight against imperialism and for national liberation will be able to be consistently carried out. This is the only way that the oppressed people in those countries will be finally emancipated. In other words, revolution cannot be exported. For it is, in the final analysis, the masses themselves of the country who have to carry these revolutions through to the end. In today’s world, given the correct foreign policies of socialist countries, like the consistent proletarian internationalism of socialist countries in defending the sovereignty of third world countries, including unconditional material aid and the establishment of mutually beneficial trade, as well as forming anti-imperialist blocs along political and economic fronts is the implementation of the Leninist policy of peaceful coexistence. This will influence the proletariat and other revolutionary elements to see the future and the correct social system for themselves. And in turn, they have to and will carry these revolutions out by themselves, through to the end.

Foreign policy is a concentrated expression of the internal economic system. It is imperialist countries that have to violate the sovereignty of other countries to export their capital and industrial goods in order to maintain their system. Unlike the Soviet Union, where capitalism has been fully restored, genuine socialist countries are not compelled by their internal economic system to export capital and industrial goods. They’re not compelled to export “revolution.”

The foremost condition to aid the consistent fight for social progress and revolution within all third world countries, is to safeguard their national sovereignty.

As Lenin described it: “World revolution has been so powerfully stimulated and accelerated by the horrors, vilness and abominations of the world imperialist war and by the hopelessness of the situation created by it, this revolution is developing in scope and depth with such splendid rapidity, with such a wonderful variety of changing forms . ..” (“Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder,” Vol. 31, Lenin Collected Works).

Today the class struggle is not only between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. In fact, in the era of imperialism the essence of this class struggle takes many forms. These forms are “Countries want independence, nations want liberation and people want revolution.” All these fronts and forms, under a correct communist, historical materialist strategy, can be and are complementary, if the correct stand, viewpoint and method are used to support these struggles.

Thus, the proletariat and all revolutionaries must unite with these rulers and their objectively anti-imperialist steps, measures and policies, no matter how small. They must be defended against the hegemonic habit of imperialists to step in and defend their old holdings and gain more interests either directly or through weakening of their imperialist adversaries. In the final analysis, whatever weakens the imperialists also strengthens the masses of workers’ and peasants’ struggle against their local bourgeoisie.

Not grasping this is what makes the “RC”P and Guardian blind to the dialectics of Khomeini’s relation to the masses, whatever his own subjective intentions. To the extent that the national bourgeoisie or their representatives like Khomeini take a strong stand against imperialism, the people will respond in a massive way. The powerful sentiment and movement of the people – the motive force of the revolution – is such that for any national bourgeoisie to keep leadership of the movement, they have to bow to the people’s demands to fight the imperialists and protect the country’s independence. As Kampuchea’s Prince Sihanouk’s taking up the fight against the U.S. in the late 1960s showed, the people force them to. That’s why the vacillating elements in the national bourgeoisie get sorted out, as some of the changes in the post of Iran’s foreign minister in 1979 show. In turn, this strengthens the fighting spirit of the masses and aids their mobilization for revolution.

And it is clear that only Khomeini can unite the Iranian people in fighting for Iran’s independence at this point. But Khomeini can change. If he is not supported in his stand against the two superpowers, he may have to turn to one or the other superpower, for instance, for military aid. As long as there are no strings attached, Khomeini has the perfect right to take all the U.S., Soviet or any other country’s offers to fill Iran’s need for a strong military. Khomeini can go two ways on this. He can take the arms and refuse any other concessions. Or he could get sucked in by the imperialists and capitulate to them- If he does this, it is the duty of the genuine communists to expose him to consistently fight to protect Iran’s independence.


Another way the “RC”P attacks the Iranian revolution is through its support of the Soviet and U.S. subversion in Iran, whipping up the contradictions between the Kurdish people and the Iranian government. Presenting the question totally outside of the fight against imperialism, they state that “Throughout Kurdistan, the masses of people ... are armed and ready to fight against the systematic national oppression practiced against them by the so-called “revolutionary” Khomeini-Bazargan regime . . . More and more Kurds joined the battle, determined to drive the reactionary army and the government’s hatchetman out of Kurdistan . . . the Khomeini-Bazargan government’s desperate lashing out at the Kurds is a sign of its underlying weakness and its reactionary nature . . .” (“Revolutionary” Worker, September 6, 1979, p. 14) For all their demagoguery about “political autonomy,” from these statements it’s clear that the “RC”P has exactly the same line as the Soviet agents of the Kurdish Democratic Party who call for the independence of Kurdistan from Iran. The question is: why does the Soviet Union support the independence of Kurdistan at this point when the Iranian people have thrown out the U.S.? Precisely because it would serve their interests in taking over the country. In other words, this line serves the Soviet social-imperialists.

The fact is that the struggle includes both a struggle for democratic rights by the Kurds and the attempt by both superpowers, the Soviet Union and the U.S., to subvert the Iranian government. The Kurds, an oppressed nationality in the country’s northern province of Kurdistan, also are heavily concentrated in the neighboring border areas of Iraq and Turkey. They have fought for centuries against national oppression against the rulers of all three countries. The CIA attempted to use them to stir up trouble, especially in Iraq, but Kissinger made a deal and the Kurds were slaughtered in the early 1970s. The Shah also mercilessly oppressed them and the Kurds in Iran were one of the forces who fought to overthrow the Shah and kick the superpowers out of Iran.

After the overthrow of the Shah, the Kurdish question still exists and they are demanding their national rights. Under their spiritual leader, Ezzedin Hosseini, the Kurdish masses have put forward the correct demand of regional autonomy under a unified Iran, as opposed to the demand for secession. As a separate state they would be at the mercy of the U.S. and Soviet imperialists, while under a revolutionary Iran fighting both superpowers, they can, within the context of fighting both superpowers, gain their national rights. This does not mean, however, that they have given up their right of secession. If the superpowers do somehow regain their position of hegemony in Iran, the Kurds will certainly fight for determining their own course, including the right to secede. And in the context of the fight against the superpowers, this would certainly be supported by the genuine communists.

But right now the agents of the superpowers are riding on the current struggle to subvert and weaken the Iranian revolution. For instance, there are ex-generals of the Shah who have reentered the country and are riding on the Kurdish movement to overthrow the government.

On the other hand, there is the Kurdish Democratic Party. The leadership, before the Shah was kicked out, was in exile in the Soviet Union for over 20 years. Today they are clearly agents of the Soviets and are close to the Soviets’ fifth column in Iran – the revisionist Tudeh Party. After they attacked government troops in early August 1979, conspiring against the revolution, the Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the leadership of the party arrested and troops to move in to crush the counter-revolutionary uprising of the Kurdish Democratic Party.

There is no doubt that the Iranian government has to find ways to secure the national rights of the Kurds. And it has been trying. After protests by Kurds for more power to control their own affairs, the government had agreed to recognize a Kurdish revolutionary committee, just a few weeks before the fighting broke out. And Khomeini has ordered one full day of oil revenues, some $75 million, to go to the Kurds, as he has done for the oil workers and the homeless poor.

But most of all the Iranian government has to fight the life and death struggle for its independence, fighting every attempt by the superpowers to subvert the Iranian revolution. The superpowers are clearly using their agents in Iran and the internal problems of the Iranian people to whip up counter-revolutionary attitudes.

For so-called “communists” like the “RC”P to call for secession is to support the imperialists against the people of the world. The Trotskyites of the “RC”P directly attack Stalin on this question. He made it clear that, in the era of imperialism:

This does not mean, of course, that the proletariat must support every national movement, everywhere and always, in every individual concrete case. It means that support must be given to such national movements as tend to weaken, to overthrow imperialism, and not to strengthen and preserve it. Cases occur when the national movements in certain oppressed countries come into conflict with the interests of the development of the proletarian movement. In such cases support is, of course, entirely out of the question. The question of the rights of nations is not an isolated, self-sufficient question; it is a part of the general problem of the proletarian revolution, subordinate to the whole, and must be considered from the point of view of the whole ...

Lenin was right in saying that the national movement in the oppressed countries should be appraised not from the point of view of formal democracy, but from the point of view of the actual results, as shown by the general balance sheet of the struggle against imperialism, that is to say, “not in isolation, but on a world scale. [emphasis ours] (Foundations of Leninism, p. 74 and p. 76)

Almost without exception, third world countries are multi-national states. This is because, unlike the rise of the capitalist “modern nations” of Europe which developed during the rise of capitalism from feudalism, through the demarcation of markets between the rising capitalists, the nations of the third world were forged through the fire of struggle against colonialism during the era of imperialism. Unlike the nation-states of Western Europe, for which Stalin said the criteria were “an historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological makeup manifested in a common culture,” (Marxism and the National Question), the nations like Zaire came into being in the struggle against imperialist powers. It was in the course of struggle against external colonialism and imperialism that the national identity of the peoples like in Zaire was formed. It was the struggle against the common enemy and their common oppression, in the case of Zaire against the Belgian colonialists, U.S. imperialists arid now also against the Soviet Union that the nation developed.

Many former colonial countries’ borders were drawn by the imperialists, not necessarily according to the differentiation of people or of tribes or traditional kingdoms, but according to the strength of former colonial powers. Often, boundaries are drawn arbitrarily to instigate conflict among newly politically independent states. Thus almost without exception, nations of the third world are multi-national states, with many unsettled boundary questions.

In the case of Zaire, there are over 200 different tribal groupings within the borders of the country. So there is definitely a basis for different tribal and regional contradictions. But without taking into account the concrete content of the contradiction – whether it serves imperialism or the struggle for national liberation from imperialism – you are forced to side with one imperialist or the other against the interest of the overall struggle for national liberation against the two superpowers. The events in Zaire in 1977-1978 have shown this clearly.


On February 7, 1979, abandoning Chairman Mao’s line on Three Worlds and totally betraying the interests of the people of the world, Teng Hsiao Ping urged the U.S. imperialists to intervene in Iran. In his meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Fukuda in Tokyo, he said, “The measures the U.S. has taken in Iran ... are good. The U.S. should move responsibly. The Soviet Union will never be impressed by half-way positions. ... If chaos continues in Iran it will produce a chain reaction in Saudi Arabia.” And earlier, during his visit to the U.S. in an interview with Time magazine, the imperialists’ “Man of the Year” said, “We see that last year South Yemen was taken over by the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union gained influence in Ethiopia. If we go farther east there is Afghanistan, and now there is Iran, where there seems to be no end to the troubles.”

Iran “troubles”? Pushing the view of relying only on the U.S. imperialists to fight the Soviet bloodsuckers instead of Chairman Mao’s correct line of mainly relying on the third world as the main force against both superpowers, Teng Hsiao Ping turns reality upside down. The twisted logic of this revisionist view is that it’s not the Iranian people who have risen up to overthrow the repressive rule of the Shah and the domination of both superpowers and thus weakened both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, but that it helped the Soviet Union!

With total disdain for the Iranian masses and mesmerized by trying to out-maneuver the imperialists, Teng’s statements only end in disaster.

Tactically using contradictions among the imperialists is a correct and necessary Marxist principle, provided these tactics are subordinate to a larger strategy, provided one has no illusions about who one’s enemies and friends are. Lenin used the contradictions among the imperialists to sign the Brest-Litovsk treaty with Germany to buy time for the newly-born socialist Russia to strengthen herself. Stalin signed a peace treaty with Hitler’s Germany, upsetting the schemes of the Western imperialists to push Germany into attacking the Soviet Union first, so that the Soviet people would have more time to prepare for the upcoming world war. Chairman Mao also made good use of the differences between the imperialists in the anti-Japanese war by uniting with the Western imperialists against the Japanese invaders, and again when he invited Nixon, top imperialist representative, to China. But Chairman Mao never had any illusion about the vicious nature of these imperialist or about who China’s true friends were – the oppressed people of the world, especially the people and nations of the third world.

Teng has thrown Chairman Mao’s correct Three Worlds line out the window and substituted his own pessimistic two worlds of the superpowers view. By relying only on the ability to play one superpower against the other and disarmed by his own illusions in U.S. imperialism, Teng has been out-maneuvered. With his statement egging the U.S. imperialists on to intervene in Iran and opposing the Iranian revolution, Teng disarms the people of the world on the vicious nature of U.S. imperialism. His disgusting statements on Iran have given the U.S. ammunition to further their strategic policy of trying to incite the Soviet imperialists to attack China, thus safeguarding Europe, the focus of superpower contention, and giving the U.S. the only hope it has of regaining its top-dog position in the world.

The Soviet Union has also made good use of Teng’s revisionist statements to discredit China in the eyes of the world’s people and build up their own image as the “natural allies of national liberation struggles.”

There is real danger of Soviet intervention in Iran, but Iran today, with the masses highly conscious politically, united and armed, is a tougher piece of meat which both superpowers will have trouble biting into. It’s a lot harder for the U.S. and Soviets to penetrate Iran today because of the awakened revolutionary people. In contrast, Iran under the rule of the Shah was easy for the imperialists to penetrate, which the U.S. made use of and the Soviets tried to use also.

The Iranian revolution is “troublesome” only to the two superpowers, especially the Soviet bear. Like a bourgeois politician, he’s got confidence only in maneuvering against the imperialists and holds the masses of the third world in contempt. And as with all bourgeois politicking, Teng’s maneuver ends up exploding in his face.

As Chairman Mao summed up, criticizing Khrushchev’s revisionist line: “Certain persons in the international communist movement are now taking a passive or scornful or negative attitude towards the struggles of the oppressed nations for liberation. They are in fact protecting the interests of monopoly capital, betraying those of the proletariat and degenerating into social democrats.” (A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement, p. 15)

Even more fundamental than the line of the revisionist leadership of the CPC is the betrayal of people’s and particularly proletarian revolution. To see the Iranian people’s revolution as “trouble” and calling for the U.S. to take stronger measures is to say that the Iranian people should not have overthrown the Shah and kicked out the U.S. bourgeoisie, it would allow the Soviet Union to walk in.

But in reality the Iranian revolution has provided the best condition for the development of the proletariat. And a mobilized and armed Iranian people is the best guarantee against an attack by the Soviet Union.

Another example of this betrayal of revolution was the support for the French Legionnaire invasion of Zaire. This action was in a way opposed to both superpowers. And the supporters of the invasion under the guise of using contradictions among imperialists actually demanded that the people of Zaire side with the imperialist “liberators.” The French and Belgian invasion had the backing and support of the U.S. and reflects the sharpening of superpower contention in Africa. These troops were protecting imperialists’ interests in Zaire and not concerned about the people. After the Katanganese Gendarmes were driven out, the U.S., France and Belgium forced an austerity program on Mobutu and the IMF was called in to take over the economy. This meant more suffering for people of Zaire. It is one thing to say that the people of Zaire should take arms from the western imperialists to fight the Soviet-backed invasion but another to maintain the illusion that the imperialists will protect the masses. The only way to guarantee the soverignty of Zaire is to mobilize the broad masses and arm them to defend the country. This also provides conditions for the development of the communist forces, the most consistent fighters in the defense of national sovereignty. China’s line today does not take into consideration how the subjective factors of revolution can be developed in present conditions. They see any move toward revolution as a bad thing since in the main these struggles are aimed against the U.S. and they think this means it strengthens Soviet social-imperialism.

Following their revisionist teachers, certain insignificant sects in the U.S. also call the revolution in Iran “terrible!” That’s the disgusting social-imperialist view of the leadership of the clique League of Revolutionary Struggle and Klonsky and company of the “Communist” Party, ML (“C”PML). These active counter-revolutionaries are bending over backwards to lick the boots of the imperialists and denying the right of the oppressed people and nations of the world to overthrow their oppressors through revolutionary struggle.

The Iranian revolution has been a big blow to both the U.S. and Soviet imperialists and is the biggest defeat for U.S. imperialism since the Vietnam war, but you usually need a magnifying glass to find any coverage of it in Unity, the rag of the sect. Check out the February 9-22, 1979 issue. They’re so ashamed of the Iranian people that they buried the Iran article way back on p. 11, hidden on the bottom of the page. The layout position of the article alone reveals the League of Revolutionary Struggle (LRS) leadership’s political slant toward the Iranian revolution – revisionist!

“The Iranian economy is still in trouble,” say these scabs, “with strikes continuing and many small shops still closed.” The political strikes in the country were a lot of “trouble” for the hated Shah and his appointee, Bakhtiar, for the imperialists, especially the two superpowers, and for South Africa and Israel who depended on Iran for oil, not for the Iranian masses. Sure strikes have caused some domestic shortages, but this is a small sacrifice the Iranian people are gladly and consciously making in order to liberate themselves from the repression of the Shah and the domination of the imperialists. Under the Shah, the sale of oil served the imperialists and never benefited the masses. But the LRS clique don’t care about these facts, all they’re worried about is that oil production levels aren’t up to normal! According to this revisionist logic, U.S. coal miners shouldn’t have struck for 118 days in 1978 since coal production went down.

But that’s not the end to their social-imperialist poison: “As the conflict continues within Iran, the threat of interference from the two superpowers, especially the Soviet Union, mounts. The Soviet imperialists are using both the tactics of subversion and military intimidation in their efforts to take advantage of disorder in Iran so as to take over the country.”

The Iranian revolution is terrible, these revisionist prophets of doom say, because the USSR will use it to take control. But the fact is the revolution in Iran is aimed straight at both superpowers and has hurt them bad. The careerist LRS leadership is blind to the power of the Iranian people because to them the two superpowers make history not the masses. Instead of relying on the people of the third world as the main force against the superpowers, they see the main way to defeat the U.S. and the Soviet imperialists is to rely on one to out-maneuver the other. Dropping Chairman Mao’s correct Three Worlds line on the international situation like a hot potato, these slimy scum show they never believed it.

This is the same LRS who in 1976 said, “It is the oppressed nations and peoples of the world in struggle against U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism which is moving forward the entire struggle against worldwide reaction,” (Revolutionary Cause, January 1979) in order to justify their disbelief in the rising danger of world war. But that was the “old” LRS back in 1976 and this is the “new” LRS today, the only similarity between the two being the careerist leadership’s complete lack of any stable political principles.

LRS is so afraid of revolution they won’t even use the word, preferring to refer to the Iranian revolution as a “conflict” or “disorder.”


“This is a critical time for the Iranian people, with the conflict and the threat of superpower interference growing. The immediate future is uncertain, but the long and protracted struggle of the Iranian people for democracy and independence will surely continue,” sniffle the LRS revisionists, turning reality upside down. The revolutionary masses of Iran have democracy and independence within their grasp today and the immediate future is “uncertain” only to the imperialists and reactionaries like the LRS leadership who don’t know what to do about stopping the revolutionary storms shaking the world. These imperialist defenders long for the “order” of the Shah when liberation appeared “long and protracted.”

The careerist LRS leadership aren’t the only ones dropping Chairman Mao’s Three Worlds line for their two worlds of the superpowers line. Look at the February 12, 1979 issue of the Call, the twisted mouthpiece of the “C”PML: “But the possibility of continued unrest and of civil war remains. This presents the danger of heightened U.S.-Soviet contention and involvement in Iran, which would result in increased threats to the country’s stability and national independence.” To the careerist Klonskyites, the revolutionary Iranian masses don’t even exist. They’re saying the Iranian people shouldn’t be making revolution because the big, bad Soviet bear will get angry. Never mind the fact that under the Shah’s repressive rule millions of Iranians were murdered, tortured, imprisoned and exiled, the fact that the superpowers bled Iran of its resources, at least there wasn’t all this “unrest” that’s going on today – that’s the logic of these political con-artists.

But by opposing the revolution aimed at both the U.S. and Soviet imperialists, a revolution that’s taken Iran out of the superpowers’ sphere of contention and aided oppressed people’s struggles all over the world, the ladies and gentlemen of the “C”PML serve both superpowers and increase the danger of world war.


By throwing out the window Chairman Mao’s line that the third world is the main force against the two superpowers and that the masses are the makers of history and pushing the view that superpowers make history, the “C”PML is forced to apologize for U.S. imperialism. They whimper: “The U.S. imperialists, for their part, want to avoid being dragged into an armed conflict in the region. They recognize that if such a civil war were to erupt, they would be in the thick of it and their forces would be in a far weaker position than those of their rival, the Soviet Union.” Klonsky must want to be the next U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs bad.

The only reason the Carter administration doesn’t send the marines into Iran is because after Vietnam and Watergate the U.S. people won’t let him. The main reason the U.S. imperialists are “in a far weaker position” today than in the 1950s when U.S. marines invaded Lebanon or the 1960s when Johnson crushed revolution in the Dominican Republic is because of the consciousness of the U.S. people and the fact that the third world has stood up and is whipping these bloodsuckers all over the world.

The imperialists by their very nature have to grab out for markets, raw materials and spheres of influence, and they are driven to launch imperialist wars of aggression to redivide the world. The renegade Klonsky’s line is the same smelly line of “ultra-imperialism” pushed by renegade Kautsky long ago. And like their forefather Kautsky, the renegade Klonsky faction is trying to disarm the U.S. people as the nature of U.S. imperialism and is increasing the danger of world war!


There’s no bottom to how low the careerist Klonsky faction will sink in serving their imperialist masters. ”But while holding these forward-looking views. Khomeini has at the same time spoken out against technology and the modernization of Iranian society and has argued for severe restrictions on the role of women. His view of an ’Islamic Republic’ is based on many of the old feudal customs of Iranian society.” The “C”PML is parroting the cheapest U.S. imperialist slander against Khomeini in order to actively oppose the Iranian revolution and undermine U.S. people’s support for it. To attack Khomeini for his “view of an Islamic Republic” when he is fighting both superpowers is an out-and-out Trotskyite line. In the present era anyone or anything which weakens imperialism is revolutionary and must be supported 100% by genuine communists.

To criticize Khomeini today for his religious views when in 1975 the “C”PML, then called the October League, defended the Shah for his purchase of U.S. arms with the excuse that he would use them to fight the imperialists shows the “C”PML’s instability of principles typical of all political swindlers!

Neither the LRS leadership clique nor the Klonskyite leading faction in the “C”PML ever believed in Chairman Mao’s correct Three Worlds line. All they ever believed in is their ability to switch their political beliefs whenever it suits their own careers. With their organizations getting more isolated every day and their membership dwindling, they know they’ve got no stake in the U.S. revolution. So they’ve decided to sell their political “capital” to the highest bidder.

B. The Dialectics of National Struggle and Class Struggle Serve Proletarian Revolution

There are many problems that the Iranian government faces. Iran is a poor third world country. There is widespread poverty and lack of jobs, caused by the plunder of the imperialists. There are national questions such as the Kurds, the Balushis, the Arabs and others. There is the question of social justice for workers, and for women. And, of course, most important of all is the task of defending Iran’s independence from the U.S. and Soviet superpowers who will try every trick in the book to make a comeback.

Within the struggle for independence, the struggle for social justice and socialism must go on. Both are part of the overall class struggle. While it is possible for third world countries to gain independence from the superpowers, it does not mean that the struggle between the classes stops.

And unlike the “C”PML, which sees the struggle as “chaos,” we see the ongoing class struggle and division inside Iran as inevitable and necessary in strengthening the revolution, especially in combatting superpower subversion. Like a communist party, which grows through internal struggle, bad elements jump out and advanced elements shine out in the midst of struggle.

Right now the Trots, revisionists, SAVAK agents, and capitulators from the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie are jumping out – that is determined by their class nature. This is a good thing and better now than later. For even if the reactionaries are able to take power, the masses will learn who their real friends and real enemies are and be tempered in the struggle, fighting, failing and fighting in preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism. The advanced elements from the workers and peasants as well as other genuine patriots are coming forward in the struggle today.

There is dual power. On the one hand there is the government headed by Bani-Sadr representing the national bourgeoisie, which holds the official state power. On the other hand there is the system of revolutionary committees composed of Muslims, the majority under the direct leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini. That is the main point of division of state power, with the revolutionary committees able to do such things as handle the local police functions and other governmental powers, including in some cases the right to issue visa clearances.

But the revolutionary committees do not represent democracy for the workers. They operate under the system of one-man rule and are controlled tightly by the Islamic leadership. At this time, the revolutionary committees and the government block the masses from real power. On the factory and village level, there are workers’ and peasants’ councils, which mainly handle questions in the factory or local area of the countryside, much like the trade unions or peasant associations in other countries. This is the other aspect of dual power. At this time they don’t go beyond the bounds of the economic struggle. In the future however they can be turned into organs of power of the masses. The revolutionary committees would not be abolished since they do represent the views of some of the masses, but would be put on a democratic basis and function as advisory bodies, like local congresses – with mass representation of different strata – did in China under Mao’s leadership. This is a question of the communists situating themselves, assuming leadership among the masses and building up their independent strength within the blow-by-blow fights in the united front against superpower subversion.

Clearly the key to victory of the Iranian revolution was the united struggle of the millions of workers and peasants against the Shah. Now to protect Iran from superpower subversion, the masses must be mobilized. Thus the revolution within Iran must continue to enlarge and protect the interests of the workers and peasants to unleash them to the fullest extent for the struggle for national independence. The people are the motive force pushing history forward.

So any action which goes against the interests of the struggle must be opposed. For instance, the recent constitution of the Islamic Republic does not give workers the right to strike. While we oppose strikes which are aimed at subverting the revolution and are used by the agents of imperialism, the right to strike is a fundamental right and necessity for the working class to protect its day-to-day interests against the capitalists. Without it, the workers are at the mercy of the capitalists and will hinder their support of the revolution.

This is a question addressed by Chairman Mao in the period of the United Front Against Japanese Imperialism. He showed the identity between the national and class struggle, that is, the struggle against Japanese imperialism and the struggle between the classes in the united front:

To sustain a long war by long-term cooperation or, in other words, to subordinate the class struggle to the present national struggle against Japan – such is the fundamental principle of the united front. Subject to this principle, the independent character of the parties and classes and their independence and initiative in the united front should be preserved, and their essential rights should not be sacrificed to cooperation and unity, but on the contrary must be firmly upheld within certain limits. Only thus can cooperation be promoted, indeed only thus can there be any cooperation at all. Otherwise, cooperation will turn into amalgamation and the united front will inevitably be sacrificed. In a struggle that is national in character, the class struggle takes the form of national struggle, which demonstrates the identity between the two. On the one hand, for a given historical period the political and economic demands of the various classes must not be such as to disrupt cooperation; on the other hand, the demands of the national struggle (the need to resist Japan) should be the point of departure for all class struggle. Thus there is identity in the united front between unity and independence and between the national struggle and the class struggle.

And he said that for the united front to be strengthened, there have to be mutual concessions, and not concessions which benefit only one party or class to the detriment of the other.

All political parties and groups in the united front must help each other and make mutual concessions for the sake of long-term cooperation, but such help and concessions should be positive and not negative . . . the factory workers demand better conditions from the owners, and at the same time work hard in the interests of resistance; for the sake of unity against foreign aggression, the landlords should reduce rent and interest, and at the same time the peasants should pay rent and interest; all these principles and policies of mutual assistance are positive, not negative or one-sided. (“The Question of Independence and Initiative Within the United Front,” Selected Works, Vol.2, pp.213-215)

Mao said: ”We do not deny the class struggle, we adjust it. . . . Unity against Japan requires an appropriate policy of adjustment in class relations, a policy which does not leave the laboring people without political and material safeguards, but also gives consideration to the interests of the rich, thereby meeting the demands of solidarity against the enemy. It is bad for the War of Resistance to pay attention only to the one side and neglect the other.” (“The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War.” Selected Works, Vol. 2, p.200)

In terms of the relations between the workers and the capitalists in Iran, the united front is both unity and struggle. On the one hand, each has to subordinate their immediate class interests to the larger question of protecting Iran from superpower subversion.

For instance, right after the revolution it would have been incorrect for the workers to strike for better conditions, given the fact that a crucial part of putting Iran in a position to fight superpower subversion was restoring production. (There was an incident right after the revolution in which an agent of the Shah was going around paying workers at the plant gates not to return to work. When he was arrested, they found a box of money in his car trunk.)

On the other hand, the standard of living must be improved for the people to be unleashed to support the revolution. That’s why concessions by the workers must be reciprocated by the capitalists. If the capitalists are getting fat while the workers are starving, they will ask “why should we support this?” Any capitalist who opportunistically uses the united front to take advantage of the proletariat’s restraint and fatten himself is carrying out a reactionary policy that weakens the united front. Thus, in that situation not only is a strike justified, but it is necessary to protect the proletariat’s independence and initiative in the united front and the united front itself. United front unity means struggle to build the united front against those incorrect policies and actions that threaten to break it.

The same goes for the clause on women’s rights. While the constitution does say that women are “equal before the law,” it does not address the basic rights of women. Woman are an important part of the revolution, as the events leading up to the overthrow of the Shah proved. They do suffer special oppression and they must be given rights such as the right to work at the same jobs, at the same pay as men, the right to divorce, etc.

A very important point is the government’s call for the people to turn in their arms. Only an armed people can protect the country from the aggression of the superpowers and the undermining by the counterrevolutionaries. This is an important point of principle and could mean the difference between the revolution’s life and death. While we support disarming and ruthlessly suppressing the Trots, revisionists and other superpower agents, we oppose a general disarmament of the people. It would be extremely short-sighted and narrow for the masses to give up their arms and for the government to try to make them.

Although opposing the superpowers is in both the national bourgeoisie’s and the proletariat’s interest in the immediate sense, in the long run it serves the proletariat’s interest. That’s why it is correct “to fall back the better to leap forward” as Lenin said. This is because of the dialectical relation between “countries want independence” and “people want revolution,” which we talked about earlier, what Mao calls the identity and mutual dependency as well as struggle between national struggle and class struggle.

In any country, the political power of the proletariat can be established only under the leadership of the proletariat itself and of its own political party.

In the third world, the formation of the proletariat and the establishment and growth of its political party must be based on the tempestuous nationalistic and democratic mass revolutionary movements including the workers, peasantry, petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie, which strive for the independence of the state and the liberation of the nation.

The struggle in the third world takes two main forms. One is the armed struggle against colonialism, Zionism, racism and imperialism. The U.S. communists must give unconditional and resolute support’ to the armed struggle. The other form is the struggle against neo-colonialism. The fight for economic independence is the continuation of the struggle to achieve complete political independence.

U.S. communists must support the poor and backward countries in shaking off the political control, economic plundering and cultural aggression of the imperialists and colonialists because this is a necessary measure for the development of a national economy, the establishment of the ranks of the proletariat, and moreover, the establishment of the political party which must lead this great class in carrying on the revolution. Also, to the extent that the superpowers are weakened, to that extent reactionaries in the third world are also weakened. Thus, it serves the main force in its fight for New Democracy, and in the preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat in third world countries.

It cannot be imagined that the ultimate victory of the proletarian revolution is possible in third world countries without the development of state independence and a national economy. Communists are distinguished from opportunists precisely in this matter.


What we have laid out is the real relation between the representatives of the national bourgeoisie like Khomeini and the people, the relation between the fight for Iran’s independence as a country and the front of people’s revolution in the era of imperialism.

This is exactly what the “RC”P and Guardian don’t understand. That’s why they are forced to mutate their position on the revolutionary essence of the Iranian revolution, from calling it reactionary to saying it’s “better than U.S. imperialism.” Fundamentally they take class analysis and rip it out of the context of the era of imperialism and put it above the real world, the concrete struggle of the world’s people against the main enemies – the U.S. and Soviet superpowers That’s why they have to do circus acrobatics with their line, flipping and flopping like clowns. And that’s why unlike them, the Communist Workers Party, U.S.A. from the beginning has said that the Iranian revolution and national liberation struggles like it, by striking hard blows at the superpowers, are direct reserves of the proletarian revolution in all countries and greatly heighten the prospects for proletarian revolution in the U.S.