Having minimised the extent of the national liberation struggle, Krushchev and the other leaders of the C.P.S.U. go on to paste a thick varnish of peaceful coexistence over the whole international picture, thus virtually obliterating the colonial liberation movement from the scene.
Today peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems is a problem which overshadows all other international issues. (V. Golikov, Politicheskoye Samoobrasovani, No. 9, 1963)
Peaceful coexistence and peaceful competition, say the leaders of the C.P.S.U., ‥assist in the unfolding of a process of liberation”. What a pleasant picture to be sure; this “process” of liberation. One has visions of it, working away on its own, spontaneously, without human effort. And here, in the conception of the leaders of the C.P.S.U., we have it “unfolding” like a daffodil in Spring. Could anything be more peaceful? But could anything be further removed from the bloody terror of the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of Algeria, Iraq, South Vietnam, Guatemala, Venezuela, Angola and the rest?
It was precisely in conditions of peaceful coexistence between states with different social systems that the socialist revolution triumphed in Cuba, that the Algerian people gained national independence . . . (Letter of C.P.S.U., 30th March 1963)
What does this statement mean? It surely implies that peaceful coexistence was responsible for the ousting of the imperialists from Cuba and Algeria – yet another example of ignoring the armed struggle of the people themselves. Does it help the Viet Cong or the guerrillas in Venezuela to know that Johnson has been nice to Krushchev, or that the hot line between Moscow and Washington is in good working order?
It is a mean act of pirating others’ merits and an insult to the heroic exploits of tens of thousands of revolutionary fighters and people who have fought imperialism at the cost of their blood, to allege that their national independence has been achieved as a result of peaceful coexistence. (Workers’ Party of Korea, Hold High the Revolutionary Banner of National Liberation, January 1964, p. 16)
Surely in relation to the national liberation struggle and the fight for the ending of imperialist exploitation of the oppressed peoples, illusions are a luxury we cannot afford.
Are the imperialists in fact deterred by the Krushchev policy of peaceful coexistence from acts of aggression against the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America? The facts would not support any such assertion. Peaceful coexistence does not make imperialism any less imperialistic. In fact the policy of peaceful coexistence as envisaged by the imperialists presupposes that they will have a free hand to continue oppressing the subject peoples. And Krushchev’s conception of peaceful coexistence, in attempting to restrain the liberation movements from an all-out attack on the imperialists, implies acquiescence in these aggressive policies.
Peaceful coexistence is itself an expression of a certain relationship of forces at anyone time between the capitalist and socialist worlds. Clearly the armed might of the socialist countries and their economic strength exercise a powerful deterrent effect on the imperialists and restrict their area of manoeuvre. Indeed it is this which makes peaceful coexistence possible. Applied through a policy of revolutionary solidarity, this power of the socialist camp can speed the progress of the working class movement and the liberation struggles throughout the world. Used for wrong purposes and to implement un-Marxist policies, the Krushchev policy of peaceful coexistence could have disastrous results for the whole international movement. As in the case of the Cuban incident, it could increase the danger of war, not reduce it.
So far as the national liberation movement is concerned the aggressive policies of the imperialists will be checked by:
(a) the struggle of the peoples in the oppressed country itself. As we are witnessing day by day in South Vietnam, this is by far the most important factor;
(b) the material and moral support of the socialist countries;
(c) the support of the rest of the international working class movement.
The general principle which applies here and which should be the guiding light in determining the foreign policy of the socialist countries must be that of proletarian internationalism. In Lenin’s words:
Alliance with the revolutionaries of the advanced countries and with all the oppressed peoples against any and all the imperialists such is the external policy of the proletariat. (The External Policy of the Russian Revolution)
But peaceful coexistence, Krushchev style, introduces a new element into the international working class struggle-an assumption that the two great powers can solve all the international questions and that the struggle of the people counts for little or nothing.
It is a historically established fact that without understanding between the U.S.S.R. and the United States, not a single serious international conflict can be settled and no agreement can be reached on a single important international problem. (Statement of Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister, 13th December 1963)
Or, to quote Krushchev:
There are no territorial disputes between our two countries, nor any insoluble contradictions, nor any issues that could prevent the creation of a climate of confidence and mutual understanding. (Press Conference, Kremlin, 5th August 1959)
Understanding between these powers (Soviet Union and U.S.A.) and their willingness to co-operate with each other in the settlement of outstanding international issues on the basis of the U.N. Charter and the principles of peaceful coexistence, today largely determine the general state of affairs in international relations. (Krushchev, interview in Izvestia, 31 December 1962)
From great states we pass to great statesmen, sorting out the affairs of the world at summit meetings or by telephone on the hot line. Why the class struggle, the fight against the oppressor, the terror and the misery, the organisation of Communist parties, when Krushchev and Kennedy, or Krushchev and Johnson, will do the job quickly and more smoothly?
“Laos,” says Gromyko, “is a case in point. It is common knowledge that agreement to support peaceful independent Laos and to respect its neutrality was reached between Comrade Krushchev and President Kennedy in Vienna in 1961.” (Speech to Supreme Soviet of U.S.S.R., 13th December 1962)
Not, mark you, the courageous and fearless guerrilla fighters of the Pathet Lao against the U.S.-supported Nosavan. Just the two K’s settling things in a friendly talk over a cup of Viennese coffee.
But the struggle in Laos still goes on.
If there is agreement between Nikita Krushchev, the head of the Soviet Government, and John Kennedy, the President of the United States, there will be a solution of international problems on which the destinies of mankind depend. (Speech to Supreme Soviet, Gromyko, 13th December 1962)
This sounds suspiciously like a new version of the cult of the individual – now a partnership cult with imperialism fully represented on the Board of Directors. This trust in the good will and good sense of the imperialists is matched, as we have seen, by a similar faith in the United Nations.
The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the United Nations, on the initiative of the Soviet Union, has instilled fresh vigour into the national liberation movement of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America,” Krushchev reported to the Supreme Soviet on 12th December 1962. Especially, no doubt, into the peoples of South Korea still occupied by U.S.-U.N. troops and into Antoine Gizenga imprisoned in the Congo by the U.N.-installed Government.
...the U.S.-led imperialists never dared to use nuclear weapons in the aggressive wars they have launched in Asia, Africa and Latin America since the end of World War Two. This is not only because they fear the peoples of the world will rise to sweep imperialism out of existence, but also because the use of nuclear weapons in such wars would have defeated their own purposes of seizing markets. Moreover, since in these wars the troops of the imperialist aggressors fought at close quarters with the people’s armed forces, the imperialists would have run the risk of wiping out their own troops if nuclear weapons had been used. As for the struggle of the people in the imperialist countries, it would be still more improbable for the monopolists to use nuclear weapons to suppress the revolution. It is therefore utterly groundless to contend that a national liberation war or a civil war may spark off a nuclear war . . . (Correct Path to Defend World Peace, article in January 1964 issue of Hoc Tap, theoretical journal of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Workers’ Party)
A by-product of the indiscriminate application of the notion of peaceful coexistence and a part of the endeavour to substitute it for the Leninist policy of proletarian internationalism, is the assertion that “small wars lead to big wars”. It serves the nuclear blackmail policies of Douglas Home and the Americans and, taken to its logical conclusion, would deter the oppressed peoples from taking up arms to win their independence and from seeking aid from the socialist countries and the rest of the international working class movement.
We must ask ourselves, therefore, what historical and other evidence there is to support such an assertion and what motive inspires those who make such a feature of the presumed danger.
Since the end of World War n, wars of national liberation have been fought in China, Korea, Vietnam, Algeria and Cuba, and guerrilla warfare is going on today in South Vietnam, Laos, the Congo, Venezuela and, intermittently, in other parts of Latin America. Some of these liberation struggles were fought and won at a time when the Americans had a monopoly of the nuclear weapon. All of them helped to weaken the imperialist front, each assisted the cause of the international working class. Every day brings further evidence that they strengthened the fight for peace.
But, says Kruschev, “local wars in our time are very dangerous... even a tiny spark can cause a world conflagration.”
The Soviet Government on 21st September 1963 published a statement defining its position:
It is the task of all democratic and peace-loving forces to give the most determined rebuff to the imperialist fomenters of local wars. This is all the more important since local wars might be the spark igniting the flames of world war . . . ” But the entire experience of the post-war years – the experience of such crises as, for instance, the Suez crisis . . . show how great is the threat in our days of local wars growing over into a universal war. “The danger of thermonuclear weapons being used in local wars also becomes very real . . .
There is a mixture of ideas here which it would be well to disentangle. The “entire experience of the post-war years” is clearly the exact reverse of what it is stated to be. For in this period the majority of local wars have been wars of national liberation and these have not spread into universal war nor was there any serious threat that they would. The “most determined rebuff” to the imperialists in these local wars was the armed revolutionary struggles of the people and to the extent that they were successful they further reduced the power of the imperialists, thus serving the cause of peace.
The question of Suez is introduced here for two reasons. One, to prove the thesis of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. that small wars lead to big wars – which is demonstrably untrue; two, to suggest that Krushchev’s rocket rattling saved the situation-which bears absolutely no relation to the facts.
To claim, as the Pravda editorial of 7th January 1963 asserted, that it was Krushchev’s threat that “extinguished the raging flames of war in the Suez Canal in 1956 by compelling the British-French-Israeli aggressors to beat a retreat” is to substitute journalism for class analysis. For Suez was brought to an end not primarily by the democratic and peace-loving forces, important as they are, but by the clash between two imperialist groups. The U.S.A. was determined at this time to make clear that they, and not the French or the British, were the main, the dominant imperialist power. They applied pressures, such as a threat of a run on sterling, to bring the British and French to heel. This, and not the rocket threats from Moscow, caused the British and the French to call a halt to the adventure. For Krushchev to claim this as his achievement is to play for cheap kudos, but more important, it is un-Marxist and untrue.
The national liberation movement has now entered a new and more difficult stage – that of a struggle for economic independence. (World Marxist Review, August 1963, p. 8)
. . . we do not want to see the construction tasks facing the newly independent countries, no matter how important they might be, make them forget or neglect the necessary support for our brothers in Angola, Portuguese Guinea, Mozambique, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa and Djibouti; national egoism is today the enemy of liberation and African unity. (President Ben Bella, opening the Afro-Asian Solidarity Council meeting, 22nd March 1964)
The leaders of the C.P.S.U. and Dutt in his turn now make great play on “economic independence” for the newly liberated countries. Pravda, in a feature published 18th July 1963, stressed that whereas the winning of political independence was previously the central task of the peoples of colonial and dependent countries, today the struggle for an independent economy has become the number one problem for most of them.
And Krushchev, in his December interview, maintains that:
the struggle for economic independence and social progress has now in fact become the central problem for the vast majority of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Dutt also takes up the call in his article:
The most important new question developing in the national liberation struggle of the newly independent countries is the struggle for economic independence, which is bound up with economic and social reconstruction at home. (p. 10.)
It surely cannot be seriously held that the fight for political independence has already been won by the “vast majority” of peoples of Latin America, India, large parts of South East Asia, the Middle East, most of Africa – in fact the vast majority of the peoples of the three continents to which Krushchev refers, and that all that remains is for these countries to achieve economic independence.
What is the purpose of this special stress by Dutt and Krushchev on economic independence? The Pravda article provides the key. The struggle for economic independence and social progress replaces the fight for political independence – in other words we should look for a peaceful change through economic and social reform.
By putting first things first the Chinese have incurred the criticisms of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. Says Pravda:
The Chinese comrades in effect will not recognise as revolutionary any process, any action, which does not smell of gunpowder.
But how can firearms be used to accomplish the principal task of the national liberation struggle today-to overcome economic backwardness and achieve economic development?
Neither Dutt nor the leaders of the C.P.S.U. give us any clue how the fight for economic independence can be separated in this way from the political struggle for the elimination of the imperialists altogether from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Nor do they explain how formal independence, once it is won, can be secured and preserved unless the imperialists are ousted completely.
The U.S.A. with its Alliance for Progress and other aid programmes also advocates economic development and the overcoming of economic backwardness. This has been and still is their policy in Guatemala, Venezuela and Brazil, for example. In Guatemala, a progressive government was ousted by armed forces backed by the Americans. In Brazil, the Marxist Peasant League has been proclaiming the importance of the revolutionary struggle in opposition to the revisionist theories of Luis Carlos Prestes who, only a few weeks ago, returned from Moscow to advocate even more energetically the way of peaceful transition. Now Goulart, the elected President, and Prestes are swept aside by a military dictatorship supported by the United States. One of their first acts, reported in the Times on 11th April 1964, was to suspend parts of the Constitution and to interfere with the proceedings of the Brazilian Congress. So much for the parliamentary road! In Venezuela, guerrilla fighters are organised and challenging the U.S.-supported government. To obtain their independence the people of Guatemala and Brazil need first of all a revolutionary organisation and the firearms the leaders of the C.P.S.U. so despise in order to confront the armed strength of the dictators. Only then can they begin the task of economic development.
An economic variant on the theme of peaceful coexistence is from time to time put forward by the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and repeated by their followers in the British Peace Movement. This is the proposal that the socialist countries and the imperialist powers get together to co-operate in schemes of economic and technical assistance to the underdeveloped countries by diverting agreed percentages of arms expenditures or by other means.
In a speech in the United States in September 1959 Krushchev explained his view:
Your and our economic successes will be hailed by the whole world, which expects our two Great Powers to help the peoples who are centuries behind in their economic development to get to their feet more quickly.
And four years later in his message to the Heads of African States the same idea is mooted:
Solution of the disarmament problem ... would also make it possible to use enormous additional funds and resources for the economic, social and cultural development of all peoples including those of Africa. (25th July 1963).
By what magic the imperialists will be transformed into partners willing to undermine their own political and economic interests in these areas is not explained. For if the analysis of the 81 Parties is correct, the imperialists have quite a long way to go to reach the stage envisaged by Krushchev:
The imperialists, headed by the U.S.A., make desperate efforts to preserve colonial exploitation of the peoples of the former colonies by new methods and in new forms. The monopolies try to retain their hold on the levers of economic control and political influence in Asian, African and Latin American countries. These efforts are aimed at preserving their positions in the economy of the countries which have gained freedom, and at capturing new positions under the guise of ’economic aid,’ drawing them into military blocs, implanting military dictatorships and setting up war bases there. The imperialists endeavour to emasculate and undermine the national sovereignty of the newly-free countries, to misrepresent the principle of self-determination of nations, to impose new forms of colonial domination under the spurious slogan of ’inter-dependence,’ to put their puppets in power in these countries and bribe a section of the bourgeoisie. They resort to the poisoned weapon of national strife to undermine the young states that are not yet strong enough. They make ample use of aggressive military blocs and bilateral aggressive military alliances to achieve their ends. The imperialists’ accomplices are the most reactionary sections of the local exploiting classes. m(p. 22).
If the Americans should ever agree to his proposals for economic co-operation, Mr. Krushchev would not find himself in very good company, it would seem.
Lenin never regarded the republic of Soviets as an end in itself. He always regarded it as a necessary link for strengthening the revolutionary movements in the lands of the West and the East, as a necessary link for facilitating the victory of toilers of the whole world over capital. Lenin knew that only such an interpretation is the correct one, not only from an international point of view, but also from the point of view of preserving the republic of Soviets itself. Lenin knew that only in this way is it possible to inflame the hearts of toilers of all countries for the decisive battles of emancipation ... (Stalin’s oration at Lenin’s funeral, January 1924).
We have seen that Dutt in his article seeks, in the last analysis, to place the leadership of the national liberation movement in the hands of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. The theme is repeated in many variations III statements emanating from the leaders of the C.P.S.U.:
The socialist system has become the pivot for the development of the class struggle and the national liberation struggle throughout the remainder of the word. (The Contradictions of Modern Times and the Ill-starred Theoreticians in Peking, Pravda, September 1963).
It is, therefore, clear that he who wants to bring closer the victory of socialism throughout the entire world should in the first place, show concern for strengthening the great socialist community and its economic might, should seek to raise the standard of living of its peoples . . . . (Letter of C.P.S.U., 14th July 1963).
The strength of the socialist system if properly used is a firm bulwark for the international working class and the liberation movements. But the first responsibility of the oppressed peoples is to throw out their own oppressors; this is the task of primary importance for them, both, to meet their own needs and to assist the whole international struggle. To suggest that the coloured peoples of South Africa or the resistance fighters of Vietnam should “in the first place” show concern for improving the economic conditions in the socialist countries is to indulge in the most barefaced chauvinism.
The Korean Workers’ Party does not mince its words in exposing such departures from proletarian internationalism:
If one is content with the victory of socialism in one’s own country alone and lives a bountiful life regardless of others, only enjoying the fruits of the revolution already won, how can the socialist camp play the role of the base of world revolution ...
Some people, however oblivious of the historical mission they have assumed before the world working class, want to give up their struggle halfway, seeking a life of ease for the present. They have not only stopped making revolution themselves but are preventing others from making revolution as well. (Let Us Defend the Socialist Camp, 28th October 1963).
It was in response to similar criticisms by the Chinese C.P. that the leaders of the C.P.S.U. descended to what must be one of the most contemptible comments made in any political statement in recent years, let alone in a letter from one fraternal party to another:
...the C.P.C. leaders hint at some sort of ’bourgeoisification’ and ’degeneration’ of Soviet society. To follow this line of thinking it transpires that if a people walks in rope sandals and eats watery soup out of a common bowl – that is communism ...
And this was written on 14th July 1963 almost three years exactly from the day when the Soviet technicians and specialists – 1,300 in all on contract to design, supply and install equipment for 300 large constructions and enterprises in China – were withdrawn, with their blueprints, at one month’s notice and all supplies for these projects discontinued. It was written when China was just emerging from three successive years of devastating floods, typhoons and drought – the worst in over sixty years.
Writers of such outrageous phrases must be a thousand miles from any idea of international solidarity or even of common humanity. Combined with the supply of arms to the Indian neo-colonialists it showed that the leaders of the C.P.S.U. had reached bottom in their relations with other socialist countries.
In the same vein is the suggestion that the main influence in the development of the struggle throughout the world is the example of the socialist countries:
In the alliance of the anti-imperialist revolutionary forces the decisive role belongs to the international working class and its main creation – the world system of socialism, which exerts the principal influence on the development of the world socialist revolution by the force of its example, by its economic construction. (Letter of the C.P.S.U. of 14th July 1963).
An article in Politichsekoye Samoobrasovanye (No. 9, 1960), discounting the necessity for armed struggle asserts that:
The main, most efficient and reasonable of them (methods of struggle) is the growth and consolidation of the socialist economy, the steady rise of the productive forces, the continuous improvement of the material and cultural standards of socialist states and, in the long run, the victory of socialism in economic competition with capitalism.
Pospelov, director of the C.P.S.U. Central Committee’s Institute of Marxist-Leninism, took up the theme at the 22nd Congress:
The land of socialism will exert its main influence on the development of the international revolution and on the minds and hearts of the peoples by the success of its economic construction. (November 1961).
But it was left to Gromyko to pick up the idea and carry us off into a cloud-cuckoo-land of metaphysics, far removed from all forms of struggle, armed or unarmed:
These (African) people almost instinctively get to know the truth about our country and its policy ... Millions of invisible threads connected the head of the Soviet government with the most remote parts of the world when he presented from the rostrum of the General Assembly proposals designed to avert the threat of war ... (Report to Supreme Soviet, 23rd December 1960).
These cloudy ideas are very different from the actual policies which the leaders of the C.P.S.U. have promoted in the various international organisations which should be concerning themselves with the struggles of the oppressed peoples.
In the meetings of these organisations - the World Peace Council, the Women’s International Democratic Federation, the World Federation of Trade Unions, and others – the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and their followers in various countries have in recent years persistently treated “imperialism” as a dirty word to be avoided at all costs. Thus any reference to imperialism as the root cause of war has been strenuously opposed and those who save sought to introduce, in the discussions and resolutions of these bodies, questions of opposition to or exposure of imperialism have been fiercely attacked. Little attempt was made to show that the surest way to defend peace is to struggle against imperialism.
The editorial in the August 1963 issue of World Marxist Review refers to the struggle for peace as the biggest democratic movement in history and asserts that through this movement “new scores of millions come to see (writer’s italics) the inherent evils of imperialism.” Thus, the Peace Movement, having excluded any discussion or even mention of imperialism, is nevertheless the instrument through which scores of millions “come to see” its evils.
And so we have the process of liberation “unfolding”; the oppressed peoples “almost instinctively” getting to know; “millions of invisible threads” connecting and, now, scores of millions who “come to see” the evils of imperialism. Could the theory of spontaneity go further?
As we have seen, all aspects of this policy towards the national liberation movement conspire to serve certain ends: to blunt the edge of the fight of the oppressed peoples and to do everything possible to influence them to rely only on the method of “peaceful transition”, to avoid attacks on the imperialists but to seek forms of co-operation with them; to leave the world struggle in the hands of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and Krushchev, a policy which a modern Browning might describe as: “K’s in the Kremlin, All’s right with the world.”
To refuse to support the revolutionary struggle of the working class and the national liberation struggle of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America in order to be on good terms with the imperialists and not to offend them, and to oppose their armed struggle on the ground that it is fraught with the danger of war – all this is a betrayal of the revolutionary cause of the people and capitulation to the imperialists. (Let Us Defend the Socialist Camp, Workers’ Party of Korea, October 1963).