Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Red Dawn Committee (Marxist-Leninist)

The Theory of Three Worlds


First Published: As Section III of a longer article entitled “On the Counter-Revolutionary Theory of the Three Worlds” in Red Dawn, No. 3, January 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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For a couple of years already, the focus of the debate on the international situation has been the “theory of the three worlds.” Its first real appearance in the international communist movement was Deng Xiaoping’s speech at the U.N. in the fall of 1974. In the U.S. it was adopted immediately by most sections of the Marxist-Leninist movement, as if it were a familiar thesis like the theory of surplus value, long proven by the working class movement.[1]

Of course, the “three worlds theory” was familiar to all of us – but not from Marxist-Leninist literature. While it had never gotten a comprehensive statement before, its elements had been around for many years. Franz Fanon is generally agreed to have been the first to talk about “three worlds.” Fanon was a West Indian psychiatrist, an anti-imperialist nationalist who worked in Algeria during the struggle against French colonialism, and he developed the idea in his book The Wretched of the Earth. He saw the alignment of forces in the world differently from the view put forth by the “three worldists;” for Fanon the “first world” was the imperialists or “free world” as they preferred to call themselves; the “second world” consisted of all those countries that called themselves socialists – the U.S.S.R., China, Cuba, Korea, Vietnam, Albania and the other people’s democracies of Eastern Europe; and the “third world,” the colonies and former colonies. For Fanon this “third world” had its own special goals and purposes. While he spoke often of socialism, he upheld this separateness, and wouldn’t completely take the side of the socialist camp. He wrote:

It might have been generally thought that the time had come for the world, and particularly for the Third World, to choose between the capitalist and socialist systems. The underdeveloped countries, which have used the fierce competition which exists between the two systems in order to assure the triumph of their struggle for national liberation, should however refuse to become a factor in that competition. The Third World ought not to be content to define itself in the terms of values which have preceded it. On the contrary, the underdeveloped countries ought to do their utmost to find their own particular values and methods and a “style which shall be peculiar to them. (The Wretched of the Earth; Grove Press, p. 98-9)

Fanon wrote this in 1961, when revisionism had already come to power in the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries. The nationalists of the colonies and neocolonies didn’t recognize the restoration of capitalism, but they did already perceive the divergence of interests between themselves and the revisionists. They understood this divergence to be one between “European” socialism and the “third world.” In this way, the rise of modern revisionism was responsible for strengthening the notion of an “African socialism” which insists that Marxism is only for Europeans, or only for white people. Revisionism has given the nationalists an excuse for anti-communism. Nationalism, of course, can play a very important role in the struggle against imperialism, but it’s up to genuine Marxist-Leninists to show how theories of playing off capitalism against socialism weaken the national liberation struggles by obscuring the real relationship among the three.

Another source of the “three worlds” theory is Josip Broz Tito and the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. In 1948, Yugoslavia was thrown out of the Communist Information Bureau, an international group set up in 1947 for parties to exchange experiences, because of its ties to imperialism. The Yugoslavian government immediately threw itself into the imperialist camp, receiving billions of dollars in “aid” from the imperialist, and making a military agreement with the U.S., pledging its contribution to the “development and maintenance of the defensive strength of the free world.” (Quoted in “Is Yugoslavia a Socialist Country?”, FLP Peking, 1963, p. 25) In 1954, Tito made a much-publicized “break” with U.S. imperialism, when he began a reconciliation with Khrushchev and articulated his theory of “non-alignment.” The bourgeois press of October and November, 1954 was filled with nervous editorials. According to this theory, the contradictions of imperialism are not the source of world war. Rather, both imperialism and socialism are engaged in a suicidal drive toward war. Tito urged other countries to remain “equidistant” from these two warlike camps. He proposed a policy of “active neutrality” in which those countries which are members of neither camp would not only stay out of war, but prevent the outbreak of war. Of course, this seems very even-handed, but it was clearly beneficial to imperialism to have Tito advocating independence from socialism for the former colonies. The Communist Party of China pointed out in 1963 that the political positions associated with Tito’s “non-alignment” were all pro-imperialist. What were some of these positions?

*Support for the Greek fascists in the Greek civil war in 1949. In 1949 the Yugoslav border was closed to the Greek people’s guerrillas, but open to the fascist royalist troops.
*Attacks on the Koreans and Chinese for their defense against U.S. imperialism in the Korean war. Yugoslavia was not only vocal in these attacks, but voted in the U.N. to embargo China and Korea.
*Calling the struggle of the Vietnamese people a front for the Chinese and Soviets. They called it “a card in their postwar policy of cold war.”
*Armed attacks on Albania.
*Support for CIA suppression of the Congolese people, Yugoslavia actually sent air force personnel with the U.N. force to the Congo in 1960.
*Criticism of Cuba for provoking the U.S. During the 1962 Caribbean crisis Yugoslavia said U.S. irritation over rocket bases so close by was “understandable.”
There are plenty of other examples that could be mentioned, (see “Is Yugoslavia a Socialist Country?”)

During the fifties the people of the colonies and former colonies were targeting imperialism as their enemy. Despite the democratic facade of the U.S. and its preference for neocolonialism rather than direct rule, these people were seeing U.S. imperialism as a particularly vicious enemy. While the imperialists’ own propaganda mills continued to turn out praises of American “freedom,” Tito provided a very safe alternative. “Equidistance” really took some of the heat off, insofar as it could oppose any alliance between the proletariat in power and the national liberation struggles.

In 1961, Tito finally succeeded in bringing together the first conference of “non-aligned nations.” This conference supported the people’s struggles in Algeria, Angola, Palestine and the Congo. But what was perhaps most important was the beginning of a new bloc, supposedly independent of both imperialists and socialists, but in many ways actually serving imperialism, by its equation of both as threats to the people of the world. Amidst many very progressive statements and demands, the conference resolution stated that the participating nations:

consider that the further extension of the non-committed area of the world constitutes the only possible and indispensable alternative to the policy of total division of the world into blocs, and intensification of cold war policies.” (Asian-African States, Indian Society of International Law)

This again holds both socialism and imperialism responsible for the danger of war.

The last source of the “three worlds theory” that we want to mention is the Bandung Conference. In 1955, 24 nations from Asia and Africa participated in an international conference in Indonesia for the purpose of discussing economic, cultural and political cooperation. Many worthwhile and positive resolutions were adopted, and overall this conference can be seen as a step toward mutual solutions of some of the common problems faced by nations emerging from colonial rule. Nevertheless, the calling of an “Asian-African” conference implied that these problems were racial or geographical in origin. In fact, one of the participating countries was Japan, an imperialist power whose troops had only recently overrun the territories of several others of the attending nations. In the light of its current adoption of the “theory of three worlds,” it is quite important to see what China, which was one of the participants in the conference, had to say about this. In his speech to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhou Enlai said only:

If it will give up its old practice of colonialism, Japan, too, can provide technical assistance to other countries in Asia and Africa, Economic cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit does not exclude anyone. (Far East Reporter, Bandung, p. 55-56)

Japan, however, unlike the other participants, was an imperialist country, and so it could only “give up” colonialism for neo-colonial domination. While China’s avowed policy of withholding differences in the interest of the unity of the conference might have been correct, to put forth illusions on the nature of imperialism, as in this instance, was not.

We are criticizing these conferences – and Fanon’s book – for what might seem comparatively small matters of wording in their resolutions, or of who attended. At the same time we have skipped rather lightly over the bulk of the statements which opposed imperialism and colonialism and supported the current national liberation struggles. These conferences were beneficial for the countries and peoples involved to the extent that they promoted mutual cooperation and so reduced somewhat their degree of dependence on imperialism. And it is fine for socialist countries to participate, also promoting peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems, But imperialism can never be defeated, or even side-stepped by such conferences. No illusions must be created on this point. To defeat imperialism and its comprador agents, a national-democratic revolution is necessary.

But attending and supporting such conferences in one thing; making them the basis for a “Marxist-Leninist” theory is another. Hua-Deng and Co. have taken the worst aspects of this amalgamation of nationalist and pro-imperialist theories that basically calls for the unity of “people of color.” They have decorated it with Marxist-Leninist phraseology. It is in this guise that it becomes thoroughly counter-revolutionary.

That the “theory of three worlds” is not brand new in China can be seen, not only by the speech of Zhou Enlai mentioned before, but also in Lin Biao’s 1965 essay Long Live the Victory of People’s War. After describing the Chinese strategy for liberation, which involved creating revolutionary base areas in the vast countryside,

Lin continued:

Taking the entire globe, if North American and Western Europe can be called the ’cities of the world,’ then Asia, Africa and Latin American constitute the “rural areas of the world.” Since World War II, the proletarian revolutionary movement has for various reasons been temporarily held hack in the North American and West European capitalist countries, while the people’s revolutionary movement has been growing vigorously . In a sense the contemporary world revolution also presents a picture of the encirclement of cities by the rural areas. (Long Live the Victory of People’s War, p.108)

Lin Biao’s line here (as well as other Chinese statements that tend to absolutize the leading role of the national liberation movements and make concessions towards nationalist ideology) portrays imperialism as the main enemy of the world’s people, while Hua-Deng and Co. ally themselves with imperialism. However, they have certain similarities. They both deny the vanguard role of the working class (in the oppressed nations as well as the oppressor nations), and therefore they both depart from Marxism-Leninism. What Lin put forward here is really similar to Fanon’s writing, but under the guise of Marxism-Leninism. It is worth noting that this became the ideological basis for a whole anti-Marxist trend in the U.S. revolutionary movement, that of the Weathermen. Their line was that the revolution world-wide would be made by “third world” peoples (including those in the U.S.). White people, regardless of class, could at most be supporters of these revolutionary struggles.


Today, the theory of the three worlds emphasizes the unity of the existing regimes in the “third world,” instead of the revolutions in these countries. Its essentials are:

1. The two superpowers are the main enemies of the world’s people, but the Soviet Union is the main source of a new world war.
2. The countries and people of Asia, Africa and Latin American (the “third world”) are the main anti-imperialist force.
3. The secondary imperialist powers of Europe, as well as Canada, Australia and Japan are the allies of the “third world” in the struggle against “hegemonism.”[2]

Peking Review #45 (November, 1977) states:

There are of course struggles between different political forces within the third world countries themselves. Some people are revolutionaries who firmly stand for carrying through the national democratic revolution. Others are progressives and middle-of-the-roaders of various descriptions. A few are reactionaries. And there are even some agents of imperialism or social-imperialism. Such phenomena are inevitable so long as there are classes, so long as there is a proletariat, a peasantry and a petty bourgeoisie and a variegated bourgeoisie and landlord and other exploiting classes. However, this complex situation does not affect the basic fact that the third world countries are the main force in the struggle against imperialism and Hegemonism. (Peking Review #45, p. 28)

What does this neglect to point out? That the majority of these countries are ruled by agents of imperialism, of whom the article says only “there are even some...” The “theory of three worlds” belittles the size and importance of the comprador bourgeoisie and other pro-imperialists. Further, it says that these countries are still the “main anti-imperialist force” and so it stands to reason that it is not the business of revolutionaries to topple this “main force.”

Most of the important points about this have been taken up in literature already published. We found “The Theory and Practice of the Revolution” by the Party of Labor of Albania very valuable, and we urge everyone to read it, along with the “Open Letter of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile to the Communist Party of China.”

We will just summarize some of these arguments here and add a few points of our own.

The “theory of three worlds” has been publicized as the strategy for revolution today. Yet this strategy has no place for the proletariat. It purports to be an analysis of different forces, and yet classes are never mentioned. The “revolutionary third world” includes all sorts of reactionary, neocolonialist regimes led by the comprador bourgeoisie and tied to one or another superpower, like Chile, the Philippines, Cuba and Ethiopia. The “main ally”, the “second world” is made up of imperialists like England, France, Germany, Japan and Canada.

One more interesting feature of this theory is its emphasis on hegemonism. Lenin showed long ago how this is a characteristic of all monopoly capitalists. It was only Kautsky, the revisionist, who saw imperialism as a policy, which could be adopted or not adopted, at the whim of the capitalists. Lenin’s analysis gives no illusions about imperialism – it is monopoly capitalism and it needs domination of other countries and war. Kautsky on the other hand gave the impression that peaceful reform could easily prevent the domination of other countries. And this is exactly what the “theory of three worlds” implies, with all its talk of “hegemonism.” Only the destruction of imperialism, can end the domination of nation by nation. Talk of fighting hegemonism just obscures this.

It is clear that this motley collection of neocolonial dictators and old-line colonialists that make up the governments of the “third” and “second worlds” can’t constitute any revolutionary alliance. What kind of alliance is it then? Clearly, it is a military bloc. All the talk of war and Soviet threat is nothing but an attempt to reshape the existing armed caps; it reflects a desire to create a third camp, with China as its leader. Under present circumstances this camp is intended to include U.S. imperialism. However it seems as though the main emphasis is on the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It suggests that China has its own ambitions of becoming a superpower.

But this whole bankrupt and counter-revolutionary theory is being put out as a strategy for revolution, and is a central point of unity for various groups and parties around the world who call themselves Marxist-Leninists. Hew has this theory affected the revolutionary movements in practice?


In the countries of the “third world” people are forbidden by the “three worlds’ theory” to overthrow the governments which are betraying the people to imperialism. Here is an example. In September of 1978, Hua Guofeng visited Iran, then in the midst revolutionary upheaval. He said:

Today under the leadership of his Imperial Majesty the Shahanshah, the Iranian people have scored gratifying successes in safeguarding the country’s independence and sovereignty, protecting their national resources and building their country. (Peking Review #36, Sept. 8, 1978, p.8)

On January 5, just a week-and-a-half before the Shah’s hurried departure, Peking Review could still describe the revolutionary situation with the words, “...the situation of unrest which has continued in Iran for several months has worsened since December 18...”(Ibid, our emphasis). The article goes on to describe the Shah’s attempts to solve the crisis and the oppositions’ demand that he step down instead. This is followed by the statement that the Soviet Union ”...has stepped up its propaganda campaign against the Shahansha...” (Peking Review 1, 1979, p.” 27). Thus, by implication, the opposition is aiding the Soviet Union, the main danger.

It was only in April of 1979, two months after the Shah’s government collapsed that Peking Review finally supported what it called the struggle ”against feudal autocracy and for democratic reform.” While the article calls attention to economic and religious discontent as sources of anti-Shah sentiment, it nowhere connects these to imperialism or mentions the explicit anti-imperialist side of the movement. Rather it describes various alleged liberal and industrial “reforms” carried out in the interests of imperialism as attempts by the Shah to solve the people’s problems. The two superpowers are characterized as “poking their noses in.” (Peking Review #14, April 6, 1979)

This all conforms completely to the “theory of three worlds.” According to it, the Shah remains an anti-hegemonist, but unfortunately also a monarchist whom the people had to get rid of. The superpowers speculate on the unrest. The central role of imperialism, particularly U.S. imperialism is hidden.

In Africa, the “three worlds” forces have backed a number of neo-colonialists. Ikwezi is a magazine published in England by Southern African supporters of the “theory of three worlds.” In Ikwezi #5, April, 1977, they published a statement by Angolan Marxist-Leninists who are former members of MPLA, criticizing the MPLA for betraying the country to Soviet social-imperialism. But the Ikwezi editors felt obliged to dissociate themselves from the statement’s hostile attitude toward UNITA, a group which Kissinger admitted to supporting, on the grounds that they are waging armed struggle against Soviet social-imperialism.

In Ikwezi #5 the editors printed a complaint by the African National Congress of Zimbabwe that Bishop Abel Muzorewa was being kept out of discussions by the Organization of African Unity. Yes, that’s the same Muzorewa who is now fronting for the Smith regime in Zimbabwe. Ikwezi also stated, “...the mass of the Zimbabwean people trust him as an honest leader and support him. His organization, the ANC, is the only mass organization of the Zimbabwean people. They are sick and tired of ZAPU and ZANU who have no mass followings inside the country...” (p. 2) While they tempered this somewhat in Ikwezi #6 with support for ZANU’s program, they continued to insist on Muzorewa’s participation in O.A.U. discussions and didn’t speak to his politics which are by now quite clear.

The “theory of three worlds” has had a profound effect on the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China which has been noted by many. Its relations with the fascist junta governing Chile have been difficult for its defenders to justify (and there were times a few years ago when we tried hard to do that too). Shortly after the fascist coup in which tens of thousands died, Zhou Enlai sent a message of condolence to the widow of Allende expressing sorrow at the death of the President, but passing over everything else in silence. When the U.N. heard resolutions condemning the fascist junta, China’s representatives walked out without voting. China had granted credits to the regime and the Chinese ambassador left Chile with the remark that he had a “very good impression of Chile and of the Chief of State.” (Open Letter of the RCP of Chile to CPC, Banner Press, p. 5-6) All of this was explained in terms of third world unity.

Another example: in 1975, when the U.N. Committee on Decolonisation was to vote on a resolution calling for the independence of Puerto Rico, China did not vote. They did not publicly explain this incredible action although the Guardian said they claimed that the reason was that it was a divisive issue for the “third world.” In any event, U.S. Ambassador Moynihan was walking around quite pleased with himself for pressuring some unnamed “third world” countries against voting for this resolution. Since then, of course, China has verbally supported the independence of Puerto Rico, but it still hasn’t criticized itself for this action.

These examples serve to show how the “theory of the three worlds” supports reactionaries, opposes revolutionaries and squelches proletarian internationalism. They show that once you include the comprador bourgeoisie in the ranks of the people, as this theory does, you have to capitulate to imperialism. While some of the supporters of the theory may disagree with specific tactics in the example we have cited, the overall logic is inescapable.

A distinction must also be made between the international policy of the proletariat before and after it has taken power. The proletariat in power has to concern itself with all the responsibilities of maintaining socialist society and its security. It enters into state-to-state relationships with capitalist countries on the basis of peaceful coexistence. It develops trade relations with these countries. It also has means of taking advantages of contradictions among the enemy in international forums that are unavailable to the proletariat out of power. But a couple of points can be made. First is to re-emphasize that this is for the proletariat in power and does not put any restrictions on the struggle of the proletariat and oppressed people in the capitalist and dependent countries. As Mao Zedong point out (immediately after World War II, in 1948):

Such compromises (on certain international issues) between the United States, Britain and France and the Soviet Union can be the outcome only of resolute effective struggles by all the democratic forces of the world against the reactionary forces of the United States, Britain and France. Such compromise does not require the people in the countries of the capitalist world to follow suit and make compromises at home. The people in those countries will continue to wage different struggles in accordance with their different conditions. (Some Points in Appraisal of the Present International Situations, in Selected Works, FLP Peking, Vol. IV, p. 87)

The second point is that the working class in power must still put its peaceful coexistence into the framework of proletarian internationalism, support for the struggles of the working class and oppressed nations and peoples throughout the world. This latter is the fundamental principle of its foreign policy. Political and trade relations are one thing, support for the pro-imperialist bourgeoisie against the masses of the people, still another.

The “three worldists” also talk about a “new economic order” emerging primarily through struggles for control over natural resources (by the existing regimes in the “third world ”). Growing unity in struggle has made it possible for the third world countries to broaden their anti-hegemonist struggle, wage it on a higher level and achieve more striking results. For example, the struggle initiated by the Latin American countries against superpower maritime hegemony, the struggle waged by Arab and other oil-exporting countries in the “third world” to defend their oil rights and the struggle of other countries for control over their raw materials have inflicted unexpected and severe defeats on imperialism and hegemonism.

However, the question of oil and other natural resources, is a complex one, partly due to the admitted efforts of the major oil companies to “fuzz up” the picture with elaborate and changing financial arrangements. We hope to do a more detailed analysis of. the “energy crisis” in the future, but there are a few points that can be made now. It is clearly preferable for oil-exporting countries to be getting a fair price for their crude oil rather than simply be robbed by imperialism. However, increasing oil prices has in no way changed the basic relation between these countries and imperialism. The comprador bourgeoisie of the oil-exporting countries is still working hand-in-hand with the imperialists to exploit their countries’ resources. They have succeeded in increasing their take, which is the ambition of all compradors everywhere. (It remains to be seen whether they have increased their share of the take.) The use of this increased revenue belies the notion that there is some benefit for the world’s people in it. Overwhelmingly, it has been invested in the same capitalist real estate, corporate stocks and bonds that it would have gone into if the investors were imperialists instead of comprador bourgeoisie. These investments have largely been in the imperialist nations rather than in their own countries. In 1974, $60 billion was invested in imperialist bank and government securities, out of a total OPEC revenue estimated at $125 billion. This is referred to by bankers as “petrodollar recycling.” (U.S. News and World Report, 3/3/75)

Further, tremendous amounts were spent on arms purchases. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 1974, the time of OPEC’s first big price increases, U.S. arms sales abroad doubled. Iran alone bought $4 billion, Saudi Arabia $700 million. (See Robert Rowen, Washington Post, 7/23/75 and 8/17/75) These arms were used against the people’s struggles, such as in Iran itself and in Oman. They also served U.S imperialism by strengthening these regional outposts of U.S. imperialism against Soviet social-imperialism.

Finally the huge increases in oil prices in the context of imperialist domination of all these countries, have hurt the oil-importing countries of the “third world” worst. In 1974, the year of the dramatic price increases, the oil bill of the developing nations increased by $11 billion. It is said that OPEC “strengthened their relations of mutual aid and cooperation with the non-oil-producing countries of the third world.” (“Oil Struggle Develops in Depth,” Peking Review #4, Jan. 27, 1978, p. 23) But OPEC aid in 1974 came to only $5 billion. And of that, only 52 billion was in loans at less than the current market rate. Hardly enough to offset the price increases and also nothing removed from sound capitalist business practice. In 1976, 2/3 of OPEC aid went to Egypt and Syria, both of which are themselves fuel exporters. (see Time, 2/9/76) “Aid Programs of OPEC Countries,” By Maurice Williams, Foreign Affairs, 1/76) High oil bills have driven oil-importing nations to increasing their dependence on the imperialists, thus tightening imperialist domination of these countries.

The one question here that we really can’t answer is the extent to which it has been OPEC and not the oil monopolies who have been responsible for the oil crisis that has aggravated the general crisis of imperialism for the past six years. The oil companies have certainly tried to blame everything on the “Arabs.” We hope to be able to analyze this question in the future. Either way, it is clear that organizations led by the comprador bourgeoisie like OPEC can only modify imperialist relations and not “inflict severe defeats” on imperialism. Such defeats would be against the interests of compradors.


The antics of the “three-worldists” in Europe have been nothing short of outlandish as they have appointed themselves junior military advisors and the most impassioned defenders of capitalism. In its International Information Bulletin, the Communist Party of Portugal (M-L) advocated Portuguese membership in the Common Market saying:

How then, is it possible to treat the European Common Market as a ‘reactionary organization’, when today, it plays a function of curbing Russian social imperialism and of independence of the second world in relation to the superpowers, and thus has, today, a function of helping the march of History in direction of the interests of the peoples and revolution?” (March 15, 1977, p. 4)

In its International Information Bulletin, the Communist Party of Portugal (M-L) advocated Portuguese membership in the Common Market and NATO, as well as unity with virtually the entire Portuguese imperialist bourgeoisie:

PCP (M-L) still defends that the national salvation government the country needs is a government including all sections of the national bourgeoisie, a unity government of the national bourgeoisie, comprising its three big democratic parties.” (i.e. PS (Socialist Party), PSD (Social-Democratic Party) and CDS (Social-Democratic Center).) (2/1/78, p.4)

The Communist Party of Switzerland (M-L) has turned itself into an advisor to the Swiss military. Commenting on recent maneuvers in the April, 1976 issue of Octobre they wrote (our translation):

The weak points that revealed themselves in the course of these maneuvers must be eliminated as rapidly as possible in the way of Plan 80...Each rifle batallion of the army field corps must possess their own anti-tank company...The anti-aircraft defense must be reinforced by a new combat plane... (p. 5)

They feel that this reliance on the bourgeoisie is very realistic. “...Today, for Switzerland it is the bourgeoisie which decides the position of our country in the front against the two superpowers because it holds state power...” And while they speak of a “Red Switzerland,” they effectively defer all revolutionary struggle to the days after the defeat of the superpowers. “...In the whole world it appears that the superpowers interfere especially where there are changes and movements to gain influence or gain control...” Apparently it is forbidden to wage revolutionary struggle, for fear that the superpowers might take advantage of the turmoil.

This is a “hard-headed, realistic” appraisal which reminds us of an English social chauvinist during World War I, named Robert Blatchford, whom Lenin wrote about. Apparently Upton Sinclair, the American Utopian socialist, had written a manifesto against war and insisting on rebellion. Blatchford of course disagreed, and Lenin paraphrased his response:

Facts, friend Sinclair, are stubborn things, and the German danger is a fact. Neither we nor the German socialists have power enough to stop the war ...Sinclair exaggerates our powers tremendously. We are not united. We have neither money, nor arms, nor ’discipline.’ What remains for us is to help the British government to increase its navy, for we have no other guarantee of peace, and there can be none... (Lenin, “English Pacifism and Dislike of Theory,” in The Imperialist War, International Publishers, p. 166)

In the time of the Second International, resolutions were passed swearing working class opposition to imperialist war, and the opportunists only showed their social-chauvinism openly when war actually broke out. Nowadays the social-chauvinists are declaring their loyalty to their own bourgeoisies in advance.

Not every European party upholding the “theory of three worlds” is as open in its class collaboration as these. The Norwegian Workers CP (M-L) for example, has not mainly advocated a build-up of the Norwegian military in the face of World War III. Rather they call for people’s war to combat Soviet invasion. They say they are preparing for this. However, the essence of their line is the same, since they say “...the front against the superpowers should first of all direct its spearhead at Soviet social-imperialism...” (Peking Review #38, Sept. 22, 1978, p. 25) They demand the removal of Soviet shops from the Baltic Sea and of Soviet troops illegally in the Svalbard Islands, yet say nothing of U.S. troops and ships in Norway at the invitation of their government. This means that while refraining from being cheerleaders at NATO exercises, like the Swiss party, they give them tacit approval.

We see that for the proletariat and other working people of the advanced capitalist countries, the “three worlds theory” is one that binds them to their “own” bourgeoisie. It is a theory opposed to proletarian revolution under the guise of opposing the superpowers. This is a necessity once one accepts the view that the bourgeoisies of these countries have a progressive role to play in opposition to the superpowers, especially the Soviet Union.

There is one point in the historical development of the “three worlds theory” among groups in the developed capitalist countries that is important to note. These groups are now most loudly proclaiming the struggle for defense of “national independence” against the threat of social-imperialist attack. But for some of these groups this is just a logical continuation of the revisionist line of calling for a two-stage revolution in their countries, first for independence and people’s democracy, and then for socialism. The most obvious exponent of this theory is the Australian Communist Party (M-L) of E.F. Hill. Their newspaper, Vanguard, has for years been calling for a revolution against domination by the two superpowers. The Communist Party of France (M-L) has also been putting forward this two-stage theory, though in a more subtle form, since its very beginning. And even a few groups who now claim to oppose the three worlds theory still uphold this line. The most blatant is the notorious Communist Party of Canada (M-L) of Hardial Bains, which still calls for independence of Canada from the superpowers.

There are two sources for this line of two-stage revolution in a developed capitalist country. The most obvious is of course that it is taken from the correct line of two-stage revolution in a colonial or dependent country. This reflects the serious weakness that has long existed in our movement of copying what has been put forth by another party (in this case the Communist Party of China), without seeing whether it applies to our situation. But the other source of this line is the theory of an anti-monopolist united front. This theory has long been held by the revisionist Communist Party U.S.A. (as well as by official revisionist parties in other capitalist countries). It claims that all the forces in the developed capitalist countries that have contradictions with the monopoly bourgeoisie up to and including the non-monopoly capitalists, are progressive and should be united with in the “democratic” struggle. This will supposedly “open the way” for socialism. In reality, this will only lead to the perpetuation of capitalism, and monopoly capitalism at that. In these countries there can be no intermediate stage to socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

One last remark must be made, and that is about the relations of the “second” and the “third world.” The “theory of three worlds” calls for the unity of the “third” with the “second world” on the basis of mutual benefit. An interesting illustration of this unity was provided by the two recent wars in Zaire. The Katanga Gendarmes, a mercenary force originally established by Belgian mining interests which has served various imperialists for twenty years, invaded Zaire with Soviet backing. In the first attack the Zairian forces required the aid of the Royal Moroccan Army and a French airlift; in the second attack, the Belgian Army and French Foreign Legion came to help fight the Katangan Gendarmes. These invasions were no popular movement against the neocolonial regime of Mobutu Sese Seko. They were an attempt by the Soviet Union to expand its influence in Central Africa and to muscle in on the rich copper deposits of the Shaba province. But neither was the French and Belgian involvement intended to help Zaire keep its independence. Zaire is a former Belgian colony and most of the foreign capital invested there is Belgian, followed by the United States and the Common Market countries other than Belgium. So Belgian and French imperialism sent troops to keep Soviet social imperialism out of their preserve. To claim anything else, as the “three world theorists” did, is to try to beautify Western imperialism by implying that it is somehow “better” for the Zairian people. This example shows that the “mutual benefit” of the unity between the “second world” and “third world” claimed by the three-worlds theory is really of mutual benefit to the imperialists in oppressing the dependent countries.


The proponents of the “three worlds theory” say that while the two superpowers are the main enemies of the people of the world, Soviet social-imperialism is the main source of war. Many people have observed that this distinction between the two superpowers lays the groundwork for an alliance of socialists with one imperialist camp, similar to that in World War II between the Soviet Union and the English, French and American imperialists. The Chinese initially were contradictory on this subject. In Peking Review #45, Nov. 4, 1977, after discussing the differences Stalin pointed out between the two camps of imperialists at the time of the Second World War, there was this disclaimer:

Of course, in the world today, there is no such thing as a new Italo-German coalition or a new Anglo-Soviet-American coalition. Instead, there are two hegemonist powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, and a united front of the people of the world against them. (p. 15)

Still, on page 22 of the same article it says:

Of the two imperialist superpowers, the Soviet Union is the more ferocious, the more reckless, the more treacherous, and the most dangerous source of world war.

And there have been the constant references in the Chinese press to a “new Munich,”[3] implying that communists should support the U.S. imperialist arms build-up. More recently, Deng Xiaoping has been rather open in asserting that:

The global war plan cooked up by the Soviet Union must be destroyed. I hope that this effort will be made by the world – the Third World, the Second World, and even including the First World, the United States. (Agence France Press, October 21, 1977)

And in his recent trip to the United States, it was clear to all that Deng Xiaoping was cementing the alliance between China and the U.S.

There are really two elements to the arguments that the Soviet Union is the main enemy of the world’s people. One is that it is in fact more aggressive and warlike than U.S. imperialism. The other is that this is a basis on which to choose sides among the imperialists. On the first, the “three-worlders’’ remind us that the Soviet Union is a newer imperialist and so it must be more aggressive in trying to force a redivision of the world, having come “... to the capitalist banqueting table when ail the seats were occupied... (Peking Review #45, 1977, p. 22)

What they neglect to remind us is that this was also true of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany in World War I, but revolutionaries did not support British imperialism because it was already established and therefore stable. It is not the business of socialists to support every old imperialist against every new imperialist in its fight to preserve its empire. Lenin points this out when he says that the Anglo-French bourgeoisie,

...are waging war for the purpose of retaining the colonies they have inordinately grabbed. (“Socialism and War,” in Lenin on War and Peace, FLP, Peking, p.10)

At the same time, he also points out that:

It is not the business of socialists to help the younger and stronger robber (Germany) to rob the older and overgorged robbers. Socialists must take advantage of the struggle between the robbers to overthrow them all. (Ibid, p. 10)

The ”three-worlders” go on to make a series of analogies between the Soviet Union of today and Nazi Germany. They show us that the Soviets, like the Nazis, are devoting a larger proportion of their national production to military build-up than the U.S. They also claim that the degeneration of socialism to capitalism automatically means fascism. But is the Soviet Union the Nazi Germany of today? In the second section of this article, we pointed out several differences in the pre-World War II period from the pre-World War I period which required different tactics for revolution. These differences included the increased strength of the national liberation struggles, the existence of genuine communist parties, the existence of a socialist state. These standards are met today. How do we determine which tactics are appropriate for today? Some would have us use a checklist approach in which we simply scan the world for certain indicators. Such a checklist could be:

—Is one imperialist older and one newer?
—Does one imperialist retain more formal “democracy” than the other?
—Does one imperialist devote more of its GNP to military build-up?
—Does one imperialist have a more centralized economy?
—if you answer “Yes” to at least 3 of these questions, we are in a period like World War II, so go ahead and ally with your own bourgeoisie.

This is the method of check for certain clues which are supposed to be a shortcut to a complete picture of the world today. It is not a Marxist analysis. Neither is relying on analogies, like those groups whose approach to the question of a new world war is to debate whether it’s going to be like World War I or World War II. The supporters of the “three worlds theory” direct us to the points in the checklist above and remind us that, dialectically, one aspect or another of a contradiction must predominate. On this basis, they insist, for example, that the Soviet Union poses a greater threat to the working people’s democratic rights. But they neglect to tell us what the significance of this phenomena is. After all, the same was said of Germany in 1914, yet this didn’t lead genuine revolutionaries to suggest that it was alright to unite with “parliamentary” England against “absolutist” Germany.

Some opponents of the “three worlds theory” make a similar error in method. Instead of beginning with an analysis of all the actual conditions, they simply ask: are the rivals imperialists? Then, drawing an analogy with World War I, they declare that it is impermissible under any circumstances to ally with the imperialists. (They also refuse to recognize any distinctions between the superpowers, like those who use the checklist above, as if recognizing such distinctions would automatically imply the need to unite with one of them.) In other words it is impermissible to analyze and utilize all factors; including contradictions among the enemy. If these people are prepared to criticize Stalin, the CPSU, the Comintern and the Soviet peoples for allying with the imperialists in the Second World War, we think they should step forward and do so. What these two positions share is an unwillingness to do a complete analysis and to substitute analogy or shortcuts.

What we are saying is that asking, “is the Soviet Union the Nazi Germany of today?,” isn’t even an appropriate way of looking at the world situation. In Section 2 of this article we saw how World War II was at the same time and in different places a war to defend socialism, an anti-imperialist war, an inter-imperialist war, a war of national defense. Communists evaluated this totality in order to determine their tactics. We have to do the same with the world situation today in order to determine ours. For now, we can only begin.

Our world is torn by the rivalry of two superpowers. While their main troop build-ups are in north-central Europe, from Germany to the Arctic Circle, there has also been contention, including armed exchanges (often by proxy) all across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The united States suffered a serious defeat in Indochina in 1975, and since then has confined itself to covert or indirect armed interference in other countries, as well as to unarmed methods of interference. The U.S. imperialists are laying the political groundwork before returning to their customary practice of open, armed interference[4]. They are looking for an opportunity to make some quick raid which will he over and successful before the public outcry begins. Such a success would help revive the jingoism of the fifties and early sixties among large sectors of the U.S. petit-bourgeoisie, the labor aristocracy and the parts of the working class it influences. The Mayaguez incident in 1975 was such an attempt, but it turned out to be a farce. They are also preparing tactical strike forces (as in the Mid-East) which they could similarly use for small armed operations of limited duration.

Meanwhile, they have been quite successful in peacefully penetrating into countries like Egypt and Somalia that were previously under Soviet influence. And although they suffered setbacks recently due to the people’s revolutionary struggles in Iran and Nicaragua, they are trying to “come to terms” with these struggles and maintain their control there, although in different forms. Though they are temporarily constrained by their fear of public outcry, both in the U.S. and abroad, from direct armed suppression of revolutionary movements, this does not mean that they have become any less aggressive. Lenin pointed out regarding inter-imperialist struggles:

To substitute the question of the form of the struggle and agreements (today peaceful, tomorrow, warlike, the next day warlike again) for the question of the substance of the struggle and agreements between capitalist combines is to sink to the role of a sophist. (Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, p. 89)

The Soviet Union, on the other hand, has yet to suffer a similar major defeat. It has not committed large numbers of its own troops outside of Europe, preferring to rely on those of Cuba. In addition, its socialist pose and stance of aiding national liberation movements, which is standard for up-and-coming imperialists, has given it certain leeway.

Almost all of the other imperialist powers are organized into aggressive military blocs under the control of one of the superpowers, such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For this reason it is generally fair to say that almost all of these imperialists are solidly a part of one of the two camps. At the same time, the imperialists of Western Europe have their own economic organization, the Common Market, which occasionally displays contradictions with the U.S. although it is mainly subject to U.S. finance capital, which rebuilt Western European capitalism after World War II. The same can be said for Japan.

In the former colonial world, most countries are now independent, but haven’t had national democratic revolutions, so they are economically and politically subordinate to imperialism. The local bourgeoisies often have conflicts with the imperialists over the terms for their sale of their country’s resources or their (4) people’s labor, but most of these countries are very much tied to one or the other imperialist camp.

Meanwhile the People’s Republic of China has moved to invite in capital from Japan, Western Europe and the United States. It has also moved toward a strengthening of military ties with this camp.

The conflicts of the last few years have included proxy fights for the superpower (Mobuto and the French Foreign Legion vs. the Katanga Gendarmes), regional wars with superpower “interest” (Vietnam-Kampuchea-China), and genuine wars of national liberation with imperialist bets on subverting the outcome (Angola). Under such conditions, it appears that any new world war will be a war among the imperialists to redivide the world. Even so, this does not mean that it would be a repeat performance of World War I. In general, the revolutionary movements in the world, and particularly the liberation struggles, are stronger than at that time. We have seen heroic examples of socialist countries, both historically and at present, snowing the way forward for mankind. All this has led to the deepening of the general crisis of capitalism. A new world war would most likely lead to a fundamental weakening of the imperialist system and to increased revolutionary struggles on a world-wide scale.


One of the most consistently appearing deviations in the history of the U.S. communist movement has been social-chauvinism. American socialists have reduced the national questions inside the country to struggles for equality as opposed to self-determination (or even opposed equality) and ignored, or merely given lip-service to the struggles of overseas possessions of U.S. imperialism for self-determination and independence. The CP-USA was right on time with demonstrations against the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, but not so quick to demand that U.S. imperialism get out of Latin America – even supporting President Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor” policy under the guise of the united front against fascism.”[5] The “theory of three worlds” has provided the justification for a whole new wave of extreme social-chauvinism, and adorned it with the seal of approval of the Communist Party of China, and of Mao Zedong, who allegedly developed this theory. Support for U.S. imperialism is the common characteristic of all the groups which hold the “three worlds theory.”

The most familiar exponent of this social-chauvinism is the so-called Communist Party (Marxist-Leninists). In Red Dawn #2 we discussed their support of the B-l bomber and the Shah of Iran along with other pro-U.S. imperialist positions. They abandoned the Shah as he was on his way down, apparently forgetting their position that anti-Shah forces were echoing Soviet propaganda when they called this opponent of Soviet social imperialism a U.S. puppet (Call, 7/11/77, p.8). They also considered Carter’s cancellation of the production of the neutron bomb an example of appeasement. But there are defenders of the “three world’s theory” in this country who would agree with us about the CP-ML’s social chauvinism, and yet claim this has nothing to do with the theory itself which they claim the CP-ML “applies wrong.”

How do these critics of CP-ML apply the “three worlds theory”? The Revolutionary Workers Headquarters is one example. They have continued to uphold the theory, while avoiding a discussion of its implications in detail. Their comment on the international situation has mainly stuck to less controversial questions: support for the revolutions in Iran and Nicaragua, for example. They will not say too much about revolutionary movements elsewhere in the “third world.” They also include cryptic comments like the short article in the April, 1979 Worker’s Voice which tells the story of capitulation to Hitler in the 30’s. The title is “Pre-World War II Era Holds Lessons for Today,” but the article coyly refuses to tell us what those lessons are.

In general, the less obvious social-chauvinists among supporters of the “three worlds theory” don’t come out with such open support of U.S. imperialism. Earlier it shows itself in their attitude toward the comprador bourgeoisie of the dependent countries. Their unqualified support for organizations like OPEC and the conferences of “non-aligned nations” is an example of advocating non-revolutionary solutions for the people of the “third world.” In the final analysis, they serve imperialism by telling the dependent nations that there is this mythical third path for the “third world,” a “new economic order” which is neither imperialist nor the product of anti-imperialist revolution. Those who hold this theory will all be forced into either adopting more and more open pro-U.S. imperialist positions, or will have to break with the “theory of three worlds” itself as time goes by.

We initially adopted this theory, too, Our position was probably similar to those of many in that we presented an eclectic mixture of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism with the ”three worlds theory.” In our unpublished 1977 draft article on the international situation, we wrote a section explaining the “theory of three worlds.” In the part about the “third world,’ we supported national liberation struggles not only in Palestine, Zimbabwe and Azania – like the “three worldists” claim to do – but also in Thailand, the Philippines and Ethiopia, which they usually keep quiet about. But then, in the next paragraph, we recited the familiar song:

Besides the victories of the national liberation movements, and aided by the blows they have dealt to imperialism, particularly the two superpowers, has been the growth of the non-aligned movement, reflecting increased Third World unity. The struggles of the various countries and peoples have elicited mutual support from other Third World and non-aligned countries, in regional organizations such as the Organization of African Unity, and the Non-Aligned conferences, and this has even been reflected in the United Nations. These countries are also showing great unity in their struggle for a new international economic order to replace the old order based on exploitation, inequality and control by imperialism, particularly the two superpowers. A leading role in this regard has been played by the countries of OPEC, etc. etc. etc.

We were writing as if these organizations offered a way out of imperialist domination. Then, of course, we turned around again in the next paragraph to say that only socialist countries and peoples’ democracies have eliminated imperialist exploitation and that all these other countries need national democratic revolution.

We criticized the O.L. for their lack of support for the revolutionary armed struggle of the people of Oman, but said they were attempting to hide behind the “correct foreign policy of the Peoples’ Republic of China,” as if it had been correct.

We cited the usual examples of unity between the “second” and “third worlds,” such as the refusal of Western European countries (except fascist Portugal ) to allow the U.S. to use their territories in its effort to resupply Israel during the 1973 war. Then we put in the disclaimer:

It must be noted that these capitalist countries did not act out of sympathy for the Palestinian liberation movement, but due to a changed world situation and the increased strength of the Third World, and in this case particularly of the OPEC countries.

Then, to conform with the theory we added: “ In the present situation of a united front against the two superpower and the objective changes in the world situation, the Second World countries can be neutralized or possibly even won over under special circumstances,” which negated what we had just said in the previous sentence!

We were generally willing to criticize the O.L., but not the Communist Party of China. Partly this was due to the recognition that the tactics of a party in power are different from those of a working class still under bourgeois rule. But mainly it reflected a desire to keep in step with the international communist movement, by agreeing with whatever came out of one of its leading parties.

This eclecticism amounted in practice to an attempt on our part to reconcile Marxism-Leninism with revisionism. There was no way this could be. We had to either break with the revisionist “three worlds theory,” Or else abandon any proletarian internationalism.

As we wrote earlier, the “three worlds theory” was hardly brand new to us when we adopted it around 1974. Rather it was familiar from all sorts of non-Marxist literature, and we simply saw it as an extension of our support of national liberation struggles. But it shows that we were awfully ready to accept whatever came from the Communist Party of China packaged familiarly. And it particularly shows a general theoretical laxity and incapability of identifying revisionism. What we were “keeping in step” with was revisionism. To tail after another party, even one with a history of a good general line, is to belittle theory.

These same criticisms extend to the entire U.S. communist movement. Too many of those forces that have now repudiated the “theory of three worlds” broke with it without a word of self-criticism. This is most evident with MLOC and COUSML, but holds for other of the smaller groups as well. We have studied many of the papers and articles which leave the reader with the impression that the authors were never for a moment taken in. That’s a false impression. If these groups make no effort to identify the source of their errors in holding the “theory of three worlds,” what guarantee is there that they won’t adopt other erroneous propositions in the future simply because they seem “popular” in the international communist movement? Their lack of self-criticism also shows dishonesty and a desire to get over on people. Lenin wrote:

The attitude of a political party to its own mistakes is one of the most important and surest ways of judging how earnest the party is and how in practice fulfills its obligations towards its class and the toiling masses. Frankly admitting a mistake, ascertaining the reasons for it and thoroughly discussing the means of correcting it – that is the earmark of a serious party, that is the way it should perform its duties; that is the way it should educate and train the class. (Lenin, Left-wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder, FLP Peking, pp. 50-51)

Of course, the supporters of the “three worlds theory” are by no means immune from these criticisms. When they first started talking about the theory around 1974, they did no more study or analysis of it than anyone else. One simply finds this analysis beginning to appear in their literature. And in 1977 when the critique of the theory became known in the U.S., they still declined to respond in serious fashion. More important, they continued to act as though there were nothing to study, and their method in adopting this theory had been correct.


It has been a sort of commonplace in our movement that the mare fact of our being outside the CP-USA (or some other organization) means we made a break with revisionism. Fran the Philadelphia Workers Organizing Committee and its “anti-dogmatic trend” to the so-called Revolutionary Wing there has been an acceptance of the argument that a fundamental break with revisionism has been made. Yet how was the revisionist “three worlds theory” able to gain such a foothold in a movement which had already broken with revisionism?

To make a real break with revisionism, it is necessary to break with its ideological basis, the theory of spontaneity. As long as we believe that the movements of the working class and the oppressed nationalities will lead automatically to socialism, we will really be putting off the revolution, and until the theoretical questions of the U.S. revolution are taken up seriously from a Marxist-Leninist stand, we are in fact still upholding the theory of spontaneity. Whether they use the slogan “political line is key” or not, most in our movement have been content with demarcating themselves from opportunism on the basis of differences in political line without carrying that deeper and doing the necessary theoretical work.

The struggle over the “three worlds theory” isn’t the first time the communists in this country have split over issues including the international situation. In 1919, the left wing of the old Socialist Party broke away, at that point particularly on the basis of differences over whether to affiliate with the Communist International. But the left didn’t take up the theoretical work, and so continued many of the revisionist errors of the Socialist Party, notably on the national question and on organizational forms. At the same time, some members (and the Party as a whole for a short period) dogmatically refused to participate in trade unions or elections, failing to grasp Leninist theory on these questions. It took the aid of the International to get the American communists to even begin to break with these errors.

In 1959 the Provisional Organizing Committee (POC) was founded on the basis of a split with the CP-USA. Among others, the issues were support for independence for Puerto Rico, self-determination for the Black Belt Nation and proletarian internationalism in general, and opposition to the CP-USA’s standing on the U.S. bourgeois constitution. This group failed to deepen their line with theoretical work and it too degenerated into a sect.

In the early seventies, what has been called a “new communist movement” developed. It differentiated itself from the CP-USA on the basis of its attitude toward the Soviet Union and its attitude toward China and Albania; its support of the national liberation struggles at a time when the revisionists held a social pacifist position; its upholding the need for an armed overthrow of imperialism, rather than peaceful transition; and its opposition to the liberal politicians the CP was always allying itself with. These things were great steps forward and needed to be consolidated. On the basis of these points the “new” movement proclaimed itself to be anti-revisionist. The second half of the seventies has already revealed just how shallow some of this anti-revisionism was.

A decade ago American revolutionaries boldly demanded the defeat of U.S. imperialism in a geographically-limited war 10,000 miles away, but today, they find excuses to ally with U.S. imperialism in its looming showdown with Soviet social-imperialism over the redivision of spheres of influence. These same people were prepared to point a finger at the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, but now they can’t tell the difference between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism in China. This shows that there wasn’t a decisive rupture with revisionism which could further the development of the Marxist-Leninist trend.

The break with revisionism has to be made on ideological grounds. It couldn’t be done by running in coalitions and strikes, or on the basis of certain political questions – the revisionists can do all this too. We have to apply Marxism-Leninism to the theoretical work of answering the programmatic question of the U.S. revolution. When the groups like O.L. and R.U. considered building revolutionary organizations, they understood that to mean simply building themselves, so any kind of pragmatic maneuvers, campaigns or other stunts were justified to them. But agreement on one question or another doesn’t mean a shared outlook. It is the outlook of the proletariat, and not just a few questions which must be the basis of our unity.

But what of those who have broken with the revisionist “theory of three worlds?” The absence of self-criticism we referred to earlier is evidence of a continuing reluctance to make a fundamental theoretical break with revisionism. This is even more apparent among those who are now willing to leap into an affair with the RCP because of agreement on one or two points and who forget about their history of white chauvinism, economism and pragmatic maneuvering. MLOC even claimed that the break with the “theory of three worlds” was now the decisive break with revisionism, although they have not make the slightest criticism of their own economism. Unless our political break with revisionism is deepened by doing the theoretical work of the U.S. revolution, even those serious Marxist-Leninists who now oppose the “theory of three worlds” will fall into revisionism on some new question in another few years.

We’re feeling our way along an unfamiliar and mountainous path in the dark without benefit of a light. At a bend in the trail some of the group plunge into the gorge. Will we laugh at their stupidity and then walk on in the dark until we ourselves fall at the next bend? Or will we attempt to strike a light?


[1] The major exception is the Communist League, which opposed it because of their view that the Soviet Union is a socialist country and that there is still a socialist camp including all the revisionist countries. Others, like the “anti-dogmatic trend” share these views with the Communist League but still uphold the existence of the “third world.”

[2] Hegemony means dominating influence or authority. It is a characteristic of imperialism. Today China uses it to refer to the Soviet Union.

[3] see for example “The Munich Tragedy and Contemporary Appeasement”, Peking Review #50, 12/9/77. In September of 1938, shortly after the Nazi annexation of Austria, British and French leaders met with Hitler at Munich and agrees to the German annexation of the Sudetan region of Czechoslovakia assuming that this would either satisfy the Nazis or whet their appetites for attacking the Soviet Union.

[4] See even William Foster’s apologetic History of the CPUSA, International Publ., p. 366-367. Foster upheld the fight for “...a democratic application” of the imperialist “Good Neighbor” policy, while criticizing Browder’s stated desire to “...dissipate the fear and suspicion of Yankee imperialism...” with the “...assurance that the ’good neighbor’ policy was something deeper than the expediency of the historical moment...”

[5] This was the practice of the U.S. at the turn of the century. Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines were seized, under the guise of aid to the struggles against Spanish colonialism. Older imperialisms also “support” movements for national liberation against their rivals.