Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist Party

Red, White & Blue “Communists” on Afghanistan

Is It Time? Is It Newsweek? No–It’s The Call!

First Published: Revolutionary Worker, Vol. 1, No. 36, January 11, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

In past issues of the RW, we have exposed the so-called “Communist” Party Marxist-Leninist (CPML) for its tireless and unswerving social-chauvinism–“socialism in words, chauvinism in deeds”–particularly their nearly naked appeals for the U.S. rulers to toughen up their war preparations and stop “appeasing” their imperialist counterparts in the Soviet Union, who are portrayed as the “main danger” to the people of the world.

Now with the recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CPML has been given another golden opportunity to show their stripes (stars and stripes, we might add) and to once again demonstrate their social-chauvinism in practice. These red, white and blue “communists” have certainly wasted no time in rushing to the defense of the U.S. rulers, parroting their “shock and dismay” at the excesses of their Soviet social-imperialist rivals.

“The invasion of tiny Afghanistan by 50,000 Soviet troops,” writes CPML hack David Kline, ”raises a profoundly disturbing question: Has World War Three already begun?” Is this an alarmist lead-in to an article for Time magazine, another in Kline’s already impressive list of journalistic efforts published in the bourgeois press? (e.g., Chicago Sun Times, Christian Science Monitor, etc.) No, but it might as well be. For his article, featured in the current issue of the CPML’s newspaper, The Call, moves rather quickly to absolve the U.S. rulers of any culpability for the developments toward world war represented by the events in Afghanistan.

Under the pretense of discussing superpower contention, we are informed that “If responsible historians can now say that the first shots of World War II were fired as early as the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931–or certainly by the 1936 Italian conquest of Ethiopia–can’t we also try to discern tomorrow’s world conflicts out of today’s developing crises? If so, then, last week’s Afghanistan events take on added significance.”

The implication is already transparently obvious. Don’t blame the U.S. in the crime that is shaping up as the two imperialist giants prepare to slaughter millions to defend and extend their criminal empires! Oh no! It’s clearly the nasty, aggressive Russians who are instigating things. Why, they are firing the first shot!

A Marxist analysis of world war? Hardly! In fact, it is the exact opposite of V.I. Lenin’s profound statement that the character of imperialist war “does not depend on who the attacker was, or in whose country the ’enemy’ is stationed; it depends on what class is waging the war, and of what politics the war is a continuation.” But after all, if the successive puppets installed by the Soviet imperialists in Afghanistan can call themselves “marxist”, why not–wrapped in the banner of U.S. imperialism–the CPML, too?

Kline warns, “behind Moscow’s brutal takeover of its southern neighbor, many observers see a strategic Russian plan for global domination...” This is certainly true enough. But, of course, nowhere in the “analysis” of this Call “observer” do we find any similar warning of the fact that the U.S. rulers, too, have a strategic plan for world domination, and that the principal business of communists in this country is to expose and defeat their own imperialists. In addition, there is no mention of the fact that it is themselves who have been the main meddlers and murderers in Afghanistan for the past decade and that only recently have the Soviets gained the upper hand. And it is certainly no coincidence that one of the Afghan “freedom fighters” quoted at length in the Call’s article is a representative of the so-called Afghanistan National Liberation Front, a group organized by the CIA as part of the efforts of U.S. imperialism to recoup its former foothold in that country!

Instead the whole tone of the Call article fairly reeks with unbridled concern for the U.S. imperialists’ shaky empire in this area of the world. To read the Call, one would think that it is only the Soviets and their proxies who “operate across a huge arc of territory, sometimes called the ’Crescent of Crisis’” (a term appropriately borrowed from Time magazine that reflects the U.S. rulers’ hand-wringing at the upheavals which are threatening their domination of this part of the world).

If we are to believe this and another article in the previous issue of The Call, the Soviets are single-handedly responsible for every bit of turmoil in the Middle East–including the widespread attacks on U.S. installations in Turkey (described complainingly as ”part of Moscow’s concerted drive to widen the rift between NATO and Turkey”). All this despite the CPML’s standard–and brief–disclaimer about how “the people of many of these countries justifiably (indeed!– RW) aim their fire at U.S. imperialism.”

The Soviets “have garnered a string of pressure points,” the CPML cries out with alarm. Moscow is “trying to stretch a net” across this whole strategic area! And “if that net should ever close tight,” they bemoan, “U.S. leaders could say goodbye to oil; Japan could say goodbye to vital shipping with her Western allies; and everyone could say hello to a Soviet military and economic stranglehold over Europe.” Heaven forbid that the U.S. imperialists might lose their traditional strangle hold over the Middle East and Europe! If this happens, according to the CPML’s “scenario”, the dastardly Russians “will attempt to oust the U.S imperialists from their dominion over major world markets and resources and Washington will try to defend it: positions against the USSR.”

Again it is the poor U.S. imperialists who are pictured as being forced into the position of “defending themselves” against the bully-boy tactics of the Soviets. And once again it is a travesty of Lenin’s remarks on inter-imperialist war in a similar situation–WWI: “Both groups of belligerent nations were systematically preparing the very kind of war such as the present. The question of which group dealt the first military blow or first declared war is immaterial in any determination of the tactics of socialists. Both sides’ phrases on the defense of the fatherland, resistance to enemy invasion, a war of defense, etc. are nothing but a deception of the people.”

But beyond this cynical portrayal of U.S. imperialism as the helpless lamb about to be devoured by the Russian bear, it is clear that the CPML has more in mind than just “defense, defense!” In contrast to the Soviet moves in Afghanistan, they complain that “the response from Washington has been relatively mild, all things considered.” Then Kline proceeds to quote another bourgeois reporter, a CBS news correspondent no less, who in the CPML’s words “aptly described the essence of Washington’s approach as one of ’deciding which Soviet wrist to slap.’”

The CPML is, of course, not alone in levelling criticism at Washington over the administration’s handling of the Afghanistan situation. Other politicians, like Barry Goldwater, have raised the same point!

Be that as it may, the response of the U.S. imperialists has been anything but mild. They are yelling about a “return to the cold war” and that detente has been “indefinitely frozen,” while the news media is filled with a chorus of shrill war cries about how the two superpowers ”are squaring off against each other.” But despite the rattling of U.S. sabres being pulled from their scabbards and the shrieking propaganda of the U.S. rulers to prepare the American people for new and bigger confrontations that are looming, in the eyes of the CPML “little concretely has been done to stay the Kremlin’s aggression.”

What more concrete actions, we may ask, might these “communists” suggest? A full-scale U.S. imperialist invasion of Afghanistan to “liberate” the Afghan people from the clutches of Soviet tyranny? Or perhaps a flurry of U.S. nuclear missiles raining down on Moscow to dispense with the Soviet “main danger” once and for all? Instead of dismissing the aggressive U.S. moves to counter their Soviet rivals (such as the resumption of arms shipments to Pakistan, the possible stationing of troops in other countries in the region, etc.) one would think that the immediate concern of U.S. communists would be to expose and concretely oppose such blatant war preparations by their own imperialists.

But the real question is what has the CPML ever concretely done to stay the bloody hand of the U.S. imperialist ruling class? The answer, of course, is nothing–and worse. They have tried to cloak their open, patriotic warmongering on behalf of U.S. imperialism in the thinnest guise of “Marxism-Leninism”– hypocrisy in the extreme.

If Lenin–who once said that “A revolutionary class cannot but wish for the defeat of its government in a reactionary war, cannot fail to see that its military reverses facilitate its overthrow”–had the opportunity to read the Call, he would turn over in his grave. One can almost hear him hurling a stream of stinging epithets at these reactionary fools who are following in the traitorous footsteps of the social-chauvinists of his time.