One of the most frequently repeated distortions of the Chinese point of view, which Dutt reproduces in his article, is that the Chinese seek to replace the contradiction between socialism and imperialism by the contradiction between the national liberation movement and imperialism.
The Chinese position is stated clearly in their letter of 14th June 1963 in which they enumerate the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world as:
the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp;
the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries;
the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism;
the contradictions among imperialist countries and among monopoly capitalist groups.
To determine the general line of the international communist movement, say the Chinese, the starting point is the concrete class analysis of world politics and economics as a whole and of actual world conditions, that is, of the fundamental contradictions in the world today.
The Chinese proceed to explain that the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp is a contradiction between two fundamentally different social systems, socialism and capitalism.
But, say the Chinese, Marxist-Leninists must not regard the contradictions in the world as consisting solely and simply of the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp.
These contradictions and the struggles to which they give rise are interrelated and influence each other. Nobody can obliterate any of these fundamental contradictions or subjectively substitute one for all the rest. (A Proposal Concerning the Line of the International Communist Movement, 14th June 1963, p.6)
In fact, far from denying the importance of the contradiction between the imperialist and socialist camps, the Chinese strongly criticise Togliatti for blurring the essential contradiction and replacing it, as does Tito, by the “contraposition of two great military blocs ”.
The contradiction between the imperialist and socialist camps is a contradiction between two social systems, a basic world contradiction, which is undoubtedly acute. How can a Marxist regard it as a contradiction between two military blocs rather than between two social systems? (More on the Differences between Comrade Togliatti and Us, p.25)
Having constructed his own distorted version of what he alleges the Chinese position to be, Dutt goes on to attack it, but in doing so throws a significant light on his own true attitude to the national liberation struggle. Since, says Dutt, the national liberation movement is led in the majority of cases by the national bourgeoisie, to regard the principal role in the world revolution as being played by the national liberation movement is to place the primary role in the world revolution in the hands of the bourgeoisie instead of in the hands of the international working class and its outcome, the world socialist system. The principles of Marxism have rarely been so outrageously misapplied and over-simplified to sow confusion and doubt in the mind of the reader. Dutt, in effect, is here relegating the national liberation struggle to “second-class status” because it is led, he alleges, by the national bourgeoisie. He is saying, in short, that the struggle must wait attendance on the socialist camp. Moreover, Dutt is guilty of the very error which he attributes to the Chinese – separating the national liberation struggle from the world socialist movement and forgetting-to quote the Chinese – that “these contradictions and the struggle to which they give rise are interrelated and influence each other”.
To cast doubt, as Dutt is doing, on the role of the national liberation movement in the international struggle is to give comfort to the imperialists.
For it is surely the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America that, in this period, are systematically eroding one centre of imperialist exploitation after another. This is where imperialism is losing out in the present phase of the world struggle – in South Vietnam, Cuba, Algeria, Panama, Venezuela – not on the Berlin autobahn; just as it has already lost out in China, North Vietnam and North Korea.
It is in this sense that the Chinese speak of Asia, Africa and Latin America as the most vulnerable areas under imperialist rule and the storm centres of the world revolution, dealing direct blows at imperialism.
D. N. Aidit, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party, in a report on 23rd December 1963, described South-East Asia as one of the regions where basic contradictions exist, the revolutionary situation is continuously developing and ripening, and where the peoples are rich in experience of all forms of revolutionary struggle against imperialism. Furthermore South-East Asia is also seething with sharp contradictions among the imperialists themselves, he said. Since the communist parties in South-East Asia are not infected with the disease of revisionism, says Aidit, they possess the necessary conditions to lead the entire people and to raise high the banners of anti-imperialism, democracy and the defence of world peace.
Lenin frequently made the point that revolutionaries must determine the particular tactics appropriate for each period of struggle, selecting the weakest point in the armour of the class enemy on which to concentrate the attack.
It is not enough to be a revolutionary and an advocate of Socialism in general. It is necessary to know at every moment how to find the particular link in the chain which must be grasped with all one’s strength in order to keep the whole chain in place and prepare to move on resolutely to the next link. (Lenin)
Elaborating this Leninist thesis, the Chinese maintain:
The centre of world contradictions, of world political struggles, is not fixed but shifts with changes in the international struggles and the revolutionary situation. We believe that, with the development of the contradiction and struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in Western Europe and North America, the momentous day of battle will arrive in these homes of capitalism and heartlands of imperialism. When that day comes, Western Europe and North America will undoubtedly become the centres of world political struggles, of world contradictions. (Apologists of Neo-Colonialism, October 1963, pp. 18-19)
Proceeding from this analysis, the Chinese correctly estimate that in the present phase:
”The whole cause of the international proletarian revolution hinges on the outcome of the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Or, as stated in Comrade Aidit’s report:
The weakest link in the chain of imperialism today is not in Europe but in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is the reason why the proletariat of the whole world must focus their attention on the revolution in these three continents.
Dutt, however, tries to minimise the significance of this movement, dismissing it as being under” bourgeois” leadership. He should re-read his Lenin:
The revolutionary government in the advanced countries would actually be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with the hundreds of millions of ’colonial’ slaves who are oppressed by capital. (Lenin, Selected Works, Moscow edition, Vol. 2)