Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

V. G. Wilxcox

New Zealand Party’s Firm Stand


Now let us consider the most vital aspect of all, and that is the question of what is the strategical aim of our world movement today? Is it against imperialism and for Socialism, or is it against nuclear war and for peace?

We consider that the former is the aim while the latter is the main tactical approach. If this is not clearly seen, we will quickly sink into a pacifist position. We will never be able to face up to the real implications of the development of modern weapons. We will reach the conclusion that the nuclear weapon, etc., has altered some basic Marxist concepts. We will get into a position of saying that, with “The Bomb”, war has ceased to be a continuation of politics by other means, that the cause of war no longer lies in the social system that produced imperialism.

In other words, we will start to say that there has been a change which makes obsolete the basic Marxist-Leninist theories on the nature of modern war and its causes. From here it is but a short step to the idealistic position of thinking that wars are started by individual whims or by accidents and have no root in social causes. To carry this to its logical conclusion, we would be denying the continued existence of class struggle and its importance from a Marxist-Leninist approach.

Here, apart from the sudden shifting of Soviet foreign policy during the last decade from one point to another, two important aspects emerge. One is reliance on the masses as the most important factor in the struggle for world peace and a realisation that in essence the struggle for world peace is an anti-imperialist struggle. The other is the question of what is the strategic aim of the world Communist movement.

We repeat: Is our aim against imperialism and for Socialism? Or is it against nuclear war and for peace? We have made it plain that we consider that the former is the aim while the latter is the main tactical approach.

What was the reply of the C.C., C.P.S.U. representatives to our delegation? We quote: –

You know the problem of preventing thermonuclear war occupies an important place. The Declaration and Statement adopted by the world communists says: ’That Communists consider the struggle for peace their primary task’. Frankly, do you think this? It is far from your speech. You diminish the role of the struggle for peace, but the 81 Parties’ Statement says that the problems of war and peace are the most urgent problems of our time, that we have great responsibilities for preventing a world nuclear war, first of all on the world working-class. The fight for peace is not just a tactical matter but one of the bases of strategy of the international Communist movement. Communists, the 81 Parties’ Statement says, see their historic mission, not only in eliminating exploitation and poverty on a world scale, but forever excluding the possibility of world war from the life of mankind – but in our time to free mankind from the nightmares of the world war.

Our approach is the classical Marxist one. We consider it still correct, although we do not in any way underestimate the dangers of nuclear war. We do NOT consider that the dropping or the gradual elimination of our main aim, Socialism, will in any way help prevent a nuclear or any other war. We can’t run away far enough to make that policy effective unless we disappear into outer space!

On the other hand, does not the view advanced by the C.C., C.P.S.U. open up many loopholes for social democratic revisionism to enter? Under their influence, our movement’s strategic aim is losing importance and other things, in reality important objectives for immediate action, become just as important as the main objective.

Let us now examine what we consider to be the effect on revolutionary struggle of the imperialists having the nuclear weapon. Can it be that in the long run the masses are no longer the powerful factor? This quote from a Pravda editorial of January 7, 1963, indicates what we are driving at: –

A modern war cannot be approached with old yardsticks. A world war, if we fail to prevent it, will immediately become a thermo-nuclear conflict, will lead to the death of millions upon millions of people, to the destruction of tremendous material values, to the devastation of whole countries. Those who do not think over the consequences of a modern war, who underestimate or simply neglect nuclear weapons as something secondary in relation to people, are gravely mistaken.

We know that nuclear weapons have terrible destructive powers and that it would be a major tragedy if nuclear war broke out. We feel in New Zealand that it is imperative to organise the masses to prevent this, and we welcome any action by the governments of the socialist countries which helps such prevention. For example, the July 31, 1963 call by the Chinese Government to the governments of the world for a conference to find ways and means of not only banning all tests but destroying existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons, removing all bases and stopping all manufacture, is a powerful rallying point for struggle against our National Government’s policy of support for the policy of the U.S. imperialists, whether such policy be “right or wrong”, as our Government once put it.

Our view, expressed in our Political Committee decision of 1962, is that the struggle for peace is a comprehensive one which includes all factors. It is, as has already been pointed out, at root a struggle against imperialism in the colonial world, in the areas threatened with neo-colonialism, in the countries with revolutionary development closely approaching the socialist revolution, and in the imperialist world itself. We see it based on the masses and their fighting organisations. Only temporary, though necessary, are gains from top level negotiations with the imperialist leaders because imperialism still remains. It cannot be limited to nuclear war, but, recognising the danger of nuclear war we call for the complete ban on all nuclear weapons. And that means not only on the testing but on manufacturing and stockpiling. It means the destruction of existing stockpiles.

Does this, however, mean that we must pass on to a belief that Marxist-Leninist theories of war and peace are out of date and must be revised, which is what some Communist Parties are now saying? Are we to arrive at what is basically a pacifist position because of the development of nuclear weapons? Are we now to say that these weapons have changed the nature of war and that now there can be no such thing as a just war because the nuclear threat prevents any just war being carried out?

We hold that the answer is in the negative. Would not an affirmative answer lead only to a denial that, under nuclear conditions, just wars – wars of socialist countries defending themselves, revolutionary and national liberation wars –i are no longer to be conducted? The imperialists would only have to use the threat of “throwing the bomb” and we would retreat.

Once we were to give up the idea that all-out effort to prevent unjust, imperialist wars must be made, and to start thinking that all war must be prevented at all cost, then we would soon look askance at any development of armed struggle against imperialism and for Socialism, or at any national liberation wars. Those things are taken off the agenda by the new theory that the Leninist concept of the nature of war is outdated. That is precisely what those who hold this view are trying to do, although in practice they cannot yet get it fully applied and will not be able to.

Our Party is trying to force a ban on nuclear weapons and on all weapons in the hands of the imperialists, but we don’t lose sight of the revolutionary struggle in the process. We remember that in spite of the “nuclear blackmail” attempts by imperialism and under the very shadow of the imperialist-held bomb, big gains have been made in the achieving of a socialist North Vietnam, socialist North Korea and socialist Cuba – through armed struggle.

On the other side of the ledger where have the imperialists allowed the peaceful creation of a socialist state? Nowhere – except in the first years after World War Two in places where the Soviet Army was either present or dominant in influence.

Possibilities exist, as already stated, today for further socialist advance in South-East Asia, in South America, in South Africa and many places of the colonial and former colonial world – if our movement does not give in to the threat of imperialist nuclear blackmail.

But once let the imperialists realise that if they threaten us with the bomb our movement will retreat from our revolutionary struggle, the threat will be made on a wide scale. That is the logical tactic for them to adopt, so you can see where this fear is going to lead our movement in the long run.

The plain fact is that the imperialist countries by their very nature do not act kindly to, or understand the fear of, others. In fact they take advantage of it. No more are they likely to listen to arguments about the welfare of humanity. In the era in which we live, the period of imperialist decline, the greatest danger, as we see it, is to conduct a general retreat before the imperialists.

To us it is strange, too, that in all this new discussion about the imperialists having “The Bomb” the fact that the socialist world has it too seems to have been lost sight of. Fortunately not, however, by the imperialists. This deterrent against the imperialists “throwing the bomb” is a powerful factor for world peace, a powerful factor in guaranteeing freedom from nuclear blackmail from the imperialists in revolutionary and national liberation wars.

We think that to make the nuclear weapon issue the main drive and not class struggle is wrong. The latter is the decisive factor. The class struggle has not been eliminated, no matter how dreadful the prospects of nuclear war may be. Our movement’s struggle must not be limited to the winning of imperialism to a peace policy, to the non-use of nuclear weapons, because for a secure peace imperialism must be eliminated. Note that even in the attempt to force imperialism on to a peace policy a number of Parties have, in reality, turned away from the decisive factor in such an attempt – the role of the masses.

May we repeat that our movement’s strategical aim is the elimination of monopoly, the achieving of state power by the working-class and the building of Socialism from that point; the main point of tactical concentration in our era being the prevention of imperialist war, particularly nuclear war.