[Authors Unknown]

Natives Are Part Of The Third World

First Published: Canadian Revolution No. 6, October 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and 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.

The extent to which we, as native people, are moved to indignation by the crime historically perpetrated against the Palestinian people and other oppressed peoples of the Third World [1] is the extent to which we have not been “successfully integrated” into a parasitic and oppressive culture. The extent to which we can be stirred by their heroic struggles to liberate their peoples, is the extent to which our history of resistance has not lost its continuity.

There can be no doubt that, historically, we have suffered a tremendous blow. In many areas natives were physically terminated for all time. There can be no doubt that cultural penetration has eroded our cohesion, probably more so than for any other oppressed people. There can be no doubt that many of our people (permanently or temporarily) expatriated from our land bases and are presently integrated into the lowest stratum of the Canadian working class.

But in the midst of this, we as native people, have a history of colonization, are presently colonized and, cannot achieve development until we break out of the imperialist [2] system. The present existence of struggle and repression give testimony to our condition. In recent years forms of mass, armed propaganda have been carried out in the internal colonies of Canada and the U.S. Massive reformism and conciliatory crumbs of co-optation have been unsuccessful in pacifying our people. There is rebellion and violence (often negatively, or inwardly, directed), a high incidence of imprisonment in the oppressor’s jails and, also, much demoralization, alcoholism and suicide.

What is the difference between the oppressed peoples of the Third World as a whole and those of the internal colonies? The difference is not qualitative. That is, the internal colonies do not constitute an integral part of the imperialist nations. Of course, in accordance with the laws of imperialist nations, they do. But those laws only reflect the extent to which imperialist nations are able to maintain hegemony at any given time. For instance up until very recently the African nations of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea were not considered nations, but overseas provinces of Portugal. The masses of those oppressed nations then rose up and seized their independence, outside the context of Portuguese law. Moreover, privilege, derived from imperialist superprofits, has not been extended to the internal colonies. The standards of living for the Blacks in the south-east and in the ghettoes of the U.S.; for the natives and Chicanos in the south-west and in the barrios and reservations of the same country; for the natives in the north and in the native communities of Canada testify to this. White supremacist exclusivity negates any chance of our people becoming a part of imperialist nations. The internal colonies are subject to forced underdevelopment and superexploitation. The privilege historically afforded to citizens of oppressor nations reaches the victims of internal colonialism, only, as forms of political subversion aimed at eroding their struggle for self-determination. The difference then, between the oppressed peoples of the Third World as a whole and those of the internal colonies is a quantitative matter related to the existence of the internal colony amid the concentrated power of the imperialist State machinery and the white settler populace that was massively aborted from Europe. It is not a matter of different goals, but of different strategies for achieving those goals.

Due to the nature of the internal colony, our struggle must be sensitively attuned to the development of class contradiction in the imperialist nation in whose geo-political boundary we reside. It follows too that our struggle must be sensitive to the other struggles in the Third World, as the success of these struggles constitutes the major external condition for the development of class and national contradiction in the privileged sector of imperialism. Hence the necessity exists in our struggle for a dual strategy. One aspect of our strategy must be internationalist – aimed at influencing the working class in the oppressor nation in a direction which facilitates our struggle for self-determination. The other aspect of our strategy must be nationalist-aimed at educating and mobilizing our people around internal contradictions.[3]

On The Development Of Class Forces In Imperialism

Firstly we must say that the exploitative system of which we are a part is an international one in which there are two basically hostile classes – proletariat and bourgeoisie. Within the two opposed classes there are again sub-classes or types which are also contradictory and, at times, antagonistic. While it is, in general, correct to say that the contradiction between bourgeoisie and proletariat is an irreconcilable contradiction which will inevitably lead to revolution and the establishment of socialism, it is incorrect to say that all types of proletariats are at all times revolutionary, or, that all types of bourgeoisies are at all times reactionary. Although all bourgeoisies are, by definition, owners of means of production and are thus strategically reactionary, we must note that in certain revolutions in modern history (eg. the Chinese revolution) the national and petty bourgeoisies of the oppressed nations have played a progressive, even revolutionary, role.; Similarly, although all proletariats are, by definition, wage labourers and are thus strategically revolutionary, we must note again that in modern history the proletariats of the imperialist nations have been unsuccessful in bringing about socialism and have engaged rather consistently in counter-revolutionary wars which have strengthened the rule of the imperialist bourgeoisie.

Historically, contradiction in the international proletariat finds its origin in the colonialist character; of the capitalist mode of production. From the earliest stage of the’development of capitalism, ’economic surplus (the life-blood of all nations)’ has been drained from the colonies and invested in the development of the mother countries. The gold and silver, for instance, which provided the first impetus for the supercession of capitalism over other forms of production in different parts of the world, was obtained from the Americas. Native Indian people were worked to death in mines of South and Central America by the Spanish colonialists. Seven of every ten men, women and children who were forced into this early slavery died.[4] In this way the population was rapidly depleted. Eventually slaves had to be imported from Africa and a system of “breeding” had to be organized to ensure the supply of slave labour. The historical result of this colonialism was the creation of a division of the world into oppressing and oppressed nations. It is this division and the consequent amassing of wealth on one side which formed the economic basis for the bourgeoisification of the sector of the international proletariat resident in the oppressing nations. This bourgeoisification became apparent in the last quarter of the 19th century when that section, out of accord with the development of the international proletariat (and out of accord with the Marxian predictive definition of proletariat), began to experience, alpng with the growth of modern industry, higher standards of living. The result was the growth of opportunism in the European labour movement and the (temporary) nullification of its revolutionary potential.

The modern labourer .. .instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the condition of existence of his own class. (K. Marx and F. Engels, 1848, Manifesto of the Communist Party)

. . . the English proletariat is becoming more and more bourgeois, so that this most bourgeois of all nations is apparently aiming ultimately at the possession of a bourgeois aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat as well as a bourgeoisie. For a nation which exploits the whole world this is of course to a certain extent justifiable. (F. Engels, 1858, letter to K. Marx)

... Participation in the domination of the world market was and is the economic basis of the political nullity of the English workers. (F. Engels, 1883, Letter to Bebel)

.. . why does England’s monopoly explain the (temporary) victory of opportunism in England? Because monopoly yields superprofits, i.e., a surplus of profits over and above the capitalist profits that are normal and customary all over the world. The capitalists can devote a part (and not a small one, at that) of these superprofits to bribe then-own workers, to create something like an alliance . . .between the workers of the given nation and their capitalists against the other countries. (V.I. Lenin, 1916, Imperialism and the Split in the Socialist Movement)

And these billions of superprofits serve as the economic basis upon which opportunism in the working class movement rests. (V.I. Lenin, 1920, report delivered at the Second Congress of the Communist International).

Before the post world war two period the inherent labour/capital contradiction in international capitalism had not fully matured. Until that time contradictions were such that the various imperialist bourgeoisies militarily opposed each other as, consequently, did “their” proletariats. At times, and in particular areas (in some nations of 19th century Europe) the labour/capital contradiction developed to a pre-revolutionary condition but was (temporarily) resolved in a non-revolutionary way. In the oppressed nations it had developed to intense antagonism (e.g. the Taiping Rebellion in China) but the subjective forces, in the form of a class conscious vanguard, were as yet undeveloped. Since the latter part of the 19th century, the conflict between the rich and poor (which Marx predicted would, in the oppressing nations be fatal to capitalism) has been transferred onto the international scene, thereby, setting the foundations for class struggle on a global scale.

Today this conflict, the labour/capital contradiction, is fully mature and is ushering in a period of revolutionary transformation. In terms of our analysis the principal contradiction in the world, which is presently exerting the major influence on all other contradictions, and determining world history, is that between the peasant/worker masses in the oppressed nations and the imperialist bourgeoisie. Its resolution, through revolutionary wars of national liberation, is creating liberated areas and advanced (socialist) forms of production in a world civilization hitherto characterized solely by exploitation.

It is important to note that revolutionary Marxist ideology, or scientific socialism, was born in Europe in the early 19th century. It was in that part of the world that, for a time, a socialist labour movement was growing. With the exception of Bolshevism, revolutionary ideology (for lack of struggles) experienced little further development in the imperialist nations. Even during the period of radicalism in Europe, Marxists were unable to correctly visualize the world revolutionary process. This was, in part, due to the fact that major changes and growth were still to occur in international capitalism, and, in part, to the subjective factor of national and social chauvinism which coloured all aspects of culture in the imperialist nations, detracting from an objective, scientific view. Not until the victory of the Chinese revolution, and the development of the countryside encirclement of the city strategy, was the revolutionary potential of the masses of the rural proletariat (peasants) realized. Even today, many leftists in the imperialist nations dogmatically view the modern peasantry in terms of the European feudal peasantry analyzed by 19th century Marxists, i.e., that they are a petty bourgeois class. The conclusion they arrive at is that nations with large sections of peasantry cannot make a social revolution. They hold a cynical view of nationalism in the oppressed nations, even though it is only through revolutionary nationalism that the capitalist mode of production in the world is being replaced by the socialist mode of production. It is all to sadly the case that many leftists in the imperialist nations have been unable as yet to rid themselves of chauvinism, arrogance and imperialist notions of all kinds which have over the centuries become deeply ingrained in the consciousness of the members of imperialist nations.

The Middle-Ease Crisis And “Northern Development”

The ripening of contradictions and the growth of the struggle in the Middle-East, the main source of oil for imperialism, brought about an energy crisis in the imperialist nations. The oil cartels headed by the U.S. could see that, with the awakening of the Arab peoples, their days of superexploitation were numbered. From that time we could detect an alteration in their profit-making strategy. They re-directed their investments in oil exploration from the Middle-East (and from Venezuela and Angola which are also oil sources and which are also the scene of growing anti-imperialist struggle) to the imperialist nations. The rationale for this is that the growth of national liberation and social revolution in the Third World was creating an “unsafe political climate for investment”. Thus, to maintain sources of raw materials it is necessary to find “safe” areas of investment. The focus for this re-direction is the “Canadian” north and, by and large, it has already been explored and decisions have been made on the division of the north amongst the various imperialist interests. The only impediment holding up a wholesale corporate invasion is the fact that the north is, and has been for tens ot thousands of years, the legitimate domain of native people. It represents the only (or one of the only) vestige(s) of genuine national territory for native people, wherein they can realize the aspiration to which all peoples are rightfully entitled – nationhood. This being the case, a historical conflict is revitalized as imperialism encroaches on this “new frontier”, “this storehouse of previously inaccessible wealth”.

To influence this conflict so that it may be resolved in an “acceptable” way, big business and their lackey, the Canadian government, have invested heavily in our political movement since 1970. They have engineered the creation of a native elite (a captive, puppet leadership) throughout Canada for the purpose of opposing the native struggle for self-determination.

Their main strategy now is the misinterpret and mislead it in such a fashion that it will stop half way and be satisfied with “cultural independence”, or some other such “Fourth World” arrangement, in which native people and finance capital can co-exist for their “mutual benefit”.

It is ridiculous, given the history of relationships between capital and the toiling masses of the Third World, to propose that there can be anything mutually beneficial about any arrangement with capital other than its exclusion from our midst. Capital exists only to make profit, and in order to do that it has to expropriate and exploit people. The present division of the world into horribly impoverished Third World nations and affluent imperialist nations testifies to this. Capital, over the centuries of its growth, has created, not development, but, underdevelopment for all peoples of the Third World including ourselves.

Palestinians And Native People

“Northern development” as a repercussion of the anti-imperialist movement in the Middle-East finds an even more pointed parallel in the common cause of Palestinians and native people. In order to maintain hegemony over the Middle-East resources (and also the Suez Canal) imperialism established the puppet state of “Israel” in 1948. Presently, behind the Zionists [5] who have expropriated the Palestinians, and behind the Canadian State officials who seek to achieve an “acceptable land settlement” in the north, is international finance capital and, in particular, the oil cartels headed by the U.S. The Palestinian people are aware of the immense size of this enemy and are still determined to liberate their homeland. They are termed, in the big business media, terrorists and murderers. They have answered, look at the bloody history of Zionism and see who the real terrorists are. In 1948 the Zionists, bolstered by the wealth and power of imperialism, invaded Palestine and, in a genocidal campaign of extermination, expelled almost the entire people from their land. Today the Palestinian refugees are huddled in tents and “tin towns” on the periphery of “Israel”. Big business and the Zionists record this as the “Israeli War of Independence”. These are the very same sort of lies perpetrated against our own people who, using the tactics of the guerilla, heroically resisted the overwhelming power of Europe. Our patriots were called blood-thirsty savages. The aggressors on the other hand were characterized as intrepid pioneers, courageous discoverers, bringers of civilization and Christianity. We can see that they have not changed their style. Ignoring the basic aggression and despotism, they focus their denunciations on the consequent resistance. Even religion is maintained as a propagandistic weapon to disguise their aggression. In our case “zealous” christian missionaries provided the pretext. In the aggression on Palestine the Zionists bring forth the bible and say they are god’s chosen people who have a holy mission. If god chooses people he is a racist, and if fulfilling a mission for him entails the annihilation of a people and the theft of their land, then he is a thief and a murderer. Of course, we know that those concepts are alien to the notion of anything worthy of the name of god. It is only that there is no rational justification for aggression, so they are forced to resort to religion and mysticism. The real pretext is the desire on the part of international finance capital to establish a military beachhead against the rising forces of revolution in the Middle-East and to maintain domination over Arab oil.

Proletarian Internationalism And The Internal Colonies

The oppressed masses of the Third World constitute the foundation which maintains the whole system of imperialism. As they make revolution they disrupt all other classes in the system. In the imperialist nations the welfare state privileges start to erode. Bourgeois proletariats become threatened with falling into the ranks of the revolutionary proletariats. In contradiction to their immediate material interests are their strategic political interests as proletarian classes. They are destined to seize power but, while colonial economic relations maintain, the potential still exists for them to collaborate with their strategic class enemy, the imperialist bourgeoisie.

It is important for the internal colonies to be keenly aware, that the essentially non-antagonistic contradiction between the privileged and superexploited proletariats can under certain conditions become antagonistic. These conditions can be described as the underdevelopment of the subjective forces (ideological and organizational) of revolution in the imperialist nations at a time when the forces of revolution become the principal aspect of the world condition, i.e., the lack of proletarian internalists [6] leadership in the imperialist nations, when imperialism enters a general crisis. Without strong proletarian leadership the internalization of the fascist and racist character of imperialism would pose a direct threat, not only to our struggle for self-determination, but also, to our physical existence. We have seen in our own past and in the contemporary practice of imperialism that the system is capable of generating atrocities which forever remain blots on civilization and humanity.

It is true that objective conditions for revolution do not exist in this part of the system at this time. But with the advent of a general crisis in imperialism the objective conditions can be said to exist everywhere. Even at this point, when large liberated base areas exist and many other areas are being contested, it is necessary that a certain level of subjective development occur in the privileged sector. Indeed the question of leadership has already been forced upon us by the bourgeoisie.

Already we can see indications of a reactionary, anti-liberation mobilization in the imperialist nations, including Canada. The spearhead of this mobilization is the world Zionist movement backed by big business. In Vancouver big business press (The Sun and The Province) has been calling upon the forces of reaction to oppose the forthcoming U.N. Habitat Conference because of the participation of the PLO. The city government here (and also, earlier on, the federal government) has taken a stand against the PLO as a “terrorist organization”. Mercenaries and volunteers are being recruited from all over Europe and North America to fight against the national liberation movements in the Third World. A vast counter-insurgency network is being built up in North America composed of CIA, FBI, RCMP and elements of the military. All these developments form part of a counter revolution being organized by the imperialist bourgeoisie.

Therefore the strategic internationalist tasks of the internal colonies are to oppose class collaboration with proletarian internationalism, actively oppose “domestic” reaction in its racist, Zionist and fascist forms and, struggle against chauvinism and opportunism in the privileged left. In keeping with this we say:

Long live the spirit of Norman Bethune! Death to Zionism!
Long live the Palestinian Revolution!


[1] The oppressed nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America.

[2] Imperialism, was described by Lenin as the last stage of capitalism in which (by 1900) all the territory of the world was divided up into the imperialist empires, and banking and industrial capital had merged. Further re-division was to occur in the 1st and 2nd world wars. Since the 2nd world war, imperialism was to alter its colonialist character. Its new character is referred to as neo-colonialism, in which the former colonies have (sham) political independence but remain economically colonized by international finance capital. Under neo-colonialism the capital exclusivity of old-style colonialism is broken and the colonies are opened up for exploitation by all (foremostly the U.S.) imperialist countries. Fundamental to the operation of neo-colonialism is the existence in the oppressed nations of a national ruling class subservient to the interests of the international ruling class of the imperialist nations. Co-terminous with the development of this system of indirect rule and the consequent intensification of exploitation in the oppressed nations, was the development in the imperialist nations of welfare statism and the consequent further consolidation of class collaboration.

[3] The internal strategies, of the various sections of our people, to achieve self-determination are not the subject of this paper. Whether, in the reserves and villages, we can achieve self-determination as regional or local autonomy; whether, in the north, there exists the necessity to struggle for national self-determination, are questions we reserve for treatment elsewhere.

[4] Of course this early form of pillage of the Third World was met by world resistance. In South America the most famous and successful Indian resistance was led by a Peruvian chief named Tupac Amaru. The Spanish colonialists then coined “tupamaros” as a disdainful term, for native rebels. It is interesting to note also that slavery of Indians existed in Canada. The following excerpt is taken from History of Canadian Wealth by Gustavus Myers; “The right to hold Indians in slavery, and to sell them was decided by Judge Hocquart, May 29, 1733, in the case of an Indian belonging to Decouverte, and hired by him to Radisson. judge Hocquart decided that this right existed by virtue of an ordinance of April 13, 1703“.

[5] Zionism is an expansionist and racist ideology and movement conceived by the Jewish bourgeoisie and motivated by their imperialist cohorts. Historically it has run counter to the interests of the Jewish people themselves.

[6] “ .. .proletarian internationalism demands, firstly, the subordination of the proletarian struggle in one country to the interests of the struggle on a world scale; and secondly, it calls for the ability and readiness on the part of the nations which are achieving victory over the bourgeoisie to make the greatest national sacrifices for the sake of overthrowing international capital.“ (V.I. Lenin, 1920, Preliminary Draft of Theses on the National and Colonial Questions).