Open your eyes. Today it is Cuba. Tomorrow ... keep your eyes open. The armies of privilege will be defeated. The old structures will collapse ... Is this a dream? No, it is not. This is our challenge ... Revolution. Yes. Don’t be deceived. Americans, open your eyes. Ask the Peruvian farmer who chews coca and eats rats if he wants fake elections or revolutions. Ask the Chilean miner who crawls through the tunnels of Lota if he believes in free enterprise or revolution. Ask the North-East Brazilian farmer if he wants capitalism or revolution. Ask the student castrated by the Paraguayan dictator if he wants Stroessner’s free press or revolution. Ask the Guatemalan farmer ’freed’ by Castello Armas if he wants Alliance or revolution ... Ask them if they believe in the ’free world’ of Franco, Salazar, Chiang Kai-shek and Ngo Dinh Diem. Ask them and they will tell you why they spat at Nixon. (Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist, in Monthly Review, January 1963).
The balance of world forces has changed and is still changing in favour of the international working class movement. “The superiority of the forces of socialism over those of imperialism, of the forces of peace over the forces of war, is becoming ever more marked in the world arena.”
Has this trend continued since the 81 Parties made the statement at the end of 1960?
In Asia, the most outstanding factor and one which must affect the whole character of the national liberation movement in that continent, is the increasing success of the Viet Cong in South Vietnam.
Godfrey Hodgson’s dispatch to the Observer from Washington on 23rd February 1964 is revealing:
The Communist Viet Cong guerrillas are believed here to be closer than ever to taking over South Vietnam. This is in spite of American help to the tune of about 16,000 ’military advisers’ and more than $1 million a day, and even after two coups in Saigon, each of which brought in a Government more committed to stamp out the terrorists.
In Latin America the Cuban Revolution is consolidating its position. The people of Panama have served notice on the American imperialists. In Venezuela the guerrilla forces are strengthening their organisation. When United States leaders visit the countries of Latin America they are jeered at and spat upon.
The American imperialists are realising that they are living next door to a volcano which at any time might erupt.
The epic we have before us will be written by the hungry masses of Indians, of landless peasants, of exploited workers. It will be written by the progressive masses, the honest and brilliant intellectuals of whom we have so many in these suffering lands of Latin America. A battle of masses and of ideas, an epic borne onward by our peoples who have been ignored until today and who are now beginning to make imperialism lose its sleep. They thought us to be an impotent, submissive herd, but now they are beginning to fear that herd. It is a thundering herd of 200 million Latin Americans among whom Yankee monopoly capital already spies its gravediggers. (The Second Declaration of Havana, 4th February 1962).
The African continent is in the birthpangs of revolution. Algeria, its independence secured, is already moving towards the creation of a socialist society. South Africa is a vast jailhouse whose inmates have already shown their mettle at Sharpeville. Fierce and bitter struggles lie ahead.
Most of the countries of East and West Africa have passed through the phase of formal independence and are now governed by national bourgeoisie which, vary greatly in their class composition and the policies they pursue; some still placing reliance on the imperialist powers whilst others draw their strength mainly from their own progressive forces. The question of Marxist leadership is of the greatest importance in these countries. In the Congo the revolutionary movement was outflanked by the U.S. and other imperialists acting under cover of the United Nations. But there are signs that the revolutionary forces there are already beginning to reassert themselves. “The uprisings which flared up in various parts of the country are evidence that the imperialists in the Congo are sitting on a powder keg that is liable to explode at any moment,” states Mwamba-Mukanya in the World Marxist Review, December 1963.
... the C.N.L. (National Council for the Liberation of the Congo) is organising and waging a stubborn struggle against imperialism. In the provinces of Kwilu, Kasai, Kivu and Kwango, the first blows against colonialist oppression have been dealt under the leadership of Comrade Ulele. (Abdoulaye Yerosye, Head of the Congolese Delegation, addressing the Afro-Asian Solidarity Council, 22nd March 1964).
The people of Africa are on the march. The situation is a complicated one, however, and many tough and bitter conflicts will have to be fought out before full political and economic independence is secured and the way opened to socialist development.
Within the socialist camp China has passed through three difficult years caused by natural disaster and the withdrawal of the Soviet technicians in 1960. She has emerged strengthened and more confident and has resumed her economic advance. North Korea has not only recovered from the devastation caused by the “U.N.” forces, her economy is bounding ahead at an unprecedented rate. In both these countries and in North Vietnam the people, under the leadership of the Communist Party, are growing in political and ideological stature and are acquiring the habits of socialist living.
In the Soviet Union and some of the Eastern European countries the advance to socialism is being retarded by the spread of revisionist policies and notions which encourage the growth of bourgeois ideas tend to create apathy and indifference to socialist goals, sap the spirit of the people and slow up economic progress. Only if revisionism is eliminated can these countries resume their political and economic advance towards socialism and discharge their responsibilities to the international working class movement.
The imperialists are being forced to the wall and, whilst they still have great power to slaughter and maim, to lay waste the lands of the peasants and keep the peoples of many countries in a state of misery and degradation, the events in Cuba, Algeria and South Vietnam have shown that where the people are organised in guerilla groups and are well led and have the support of the international working class, the imperialists are veritably “paper tigers” for all their armaments, their technological tricks and their local puppets.
Is it so surprising that in this situation the revisionists should be so active? The imperialists are aware that a united international working class with a truly revolutionary policy would hasten them to their doom. What they are failing to do by direct methods they must seek to achieve by sabotage from within the movement: herein lies the role of the revisionists.
Modern revisionism is a grave evil in the revolutionary movement because once it infiltrates into our party, it will corrode the revolutionary spirit of our party and people. It will serve as all efficient agent of the hostile classes and become in fact an ally of imperialism. We must hate it as we hate imperialism. (Le Duan, First Secretary of the Central Committee, Vietnam Workers’ Party, December 1963).
But already the challenge to the revisionists has been thrown down. There can be no returning to the earlier situation in which revisionist ideas, operating through methods of great-nation chauvinism, when paternalism within the communist movement, could be spread without contradiction and criticism from Marxist parties and groups throughout the world. This, in itself, is a considerable strengthening, not a weakening, of the movement internationally.
As one party after another casts out revisionism and returns to the true principles of Marxism, it will be possible also to return to an integrated international working class policy; the reverse of the separation suggested by Dutt and Krushchev.
When the people of the socialist countries, the working class in the imperialist countries and the oppressed peoples throughout the world focus their attack on imperialism and are united by common principles and a clear sense of direction, the national liberation movements will have the best possible conditions to fight for and win their independence.
Dutt and Krushchev and their revisionist friends would have us wait, relying on the “New Frontiersmen” in America, the United Nations and the economic example of the socialist countries. But, to quote the Second Declaration of Havana, “revolutionaries cannot sit in their homes to watch the corpse of imperialism pass by.” Nor can we rely passively on the change in the balance of world forces. For this balance is not a static thing. The situation in each country and in the world as a whole does not stand still. Actively pressing home the attack on the ruling class in each country and on imperialism wherever it rears its head is the only policy for Marxists:
Let the theoreticians of imperialism preach conformity. And let the revolutionary theoreticians preach revolution! (Fidel Castro, 15th January 1963).