Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist League of Britain

Proletarian Internationalism and the Duties of British Communists

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 3, No. 2, June 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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“Working Men of all Countries, Unite!” – when Marx and Engels put these stirring words at the end of the “Communist Manifesto” they did so because history was demonstrating conclusively that the proletariat is the revolutionary class, that the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie is the struggle propelling mankind forward to the Communist society which will liberate mankind from the reign of classes forever. Further, unlike the bourgeoisie, the interests of the working class are not tied to any particular country. The struggle of the proletariat takes place on a world-wide scale to defeat the bourgeoisie on a world-wide scale. As Marx and Engels said:

The Communists are distinguished from the other working class parties by this only: 1.In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the ’working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.

The Communists, therefore are on the one hand, politically the most advanced and resolute section of the working class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; On the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the Line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement. (“Manifesto of the Communist Party”, Peking ed. p 49-50)

In the first place these principles mean the simple solidarity of one worker with another, irrespective of nationality. Most class conscious workers understand this easily and readily support the struggles of workers in other countries. Take the recent strike at Grunwicks which has received material support from workers throughout the world, or the strike of the US miners which received similar support. On a higher level of political consciousness, workers have often supported the revolutionary struggles of workers and oppressed peoples throughout the world. In Britain the Lancashire textile workers blacked cotton from the Confederate states during the American civil war, despite the threat to their own jobs. Other workers supported Garibaldi’s struggle for a unified Italy. Dockers and other workers blacked ships taking troops and arms to support the British forces intervening in Russia in 1918-21. Much more recently there was the determined effort by British postal workers to black mail going to “South Africa”.

Although the world-wide solidarity of workers one, with another is the core of proletarian internationalism, it is not the whole of it. As Marx and Engels say in the quote above, the Communists understand “.. .the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement”. As we pointed out in the last issue of ’Revolution’ the “Line of march” of the proletariat is extremely complicated, with many twists and turns. It is simply not possible for the proletariat to look only at its struggle and especially not only at the struggle in its own country. It must be prepared to ally itself with any other force in order to achieve victory, and it must look at the struggle in “its” own country in the light of the struggle world-wide: In Britain, for example, although our struggle is for socialist revolution, we must also struggle for national independence from the superpowers as an integral part of the revolutionary struggle. Despite the shouting of the super-revolutionaries it is they who are betraying proletarian internationalism by teaching the working class they can conduct their struggle in national isolation.

The neo-Trotskyite “left” opportunist tendency in the International Communist movement is the most serious deviation at present, but there is also the danger of right opportunist deviations.

The most crucial aspect of proletarian internationalism is the unity of the working class with the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed people and nations. In the international united front against superpower hegemonism, the unity of the workers of the world and between the working class and the oppressed people and nations is the kernel of the united front. The RCLB until comparatively recently had not grasp this question firmly, and for the RCLB the tendency on the international situation has been to the right, not the left.

Two connected errors were made, firstly, not grasping the proletarian internationalist duty of the working class in Britain to support the struggles of those peoples and nations oppressed by British imperialism, and, secondly, supporting only the struggles of third world countries and governments, and not the national democratic revolution in those countries. We shall deal with the second error first.

The working class of Britain must support the struggle of all third world people and countries which are directed against imperialism and superpower hegemonism. The struggle of the OPEC countries for fair prices for their oil, even though those countries are ruled by the bourgeoisie, is a struggle which, as Stalin said: “...weakens, undermines and disintegrates imperialism...”, it is therefore a struggle which must be resolutely supported by the working class. Taken as a whole it is essential that the working class in Britain resolutely supports the struggle for a new international economic order and demands that the British government accedes to the just demands of the third world countries.


The third world nations have two aspects. As the “People’s Daily” editorial of 1.11.77 pointed out:

.. the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America are revolutionary and progressive as far as their essence and main aspect are concerned. (pp 50-51)

Most third world countries have now won formal independence, and are struggling hard for real economic and political independence. As we have said we support any struggle of these countries which is objectively directed against imperialism. The ruling bourgeoisie of these countries though, precisely because it is the bourgeoisie, inevitably vacillates in the struggle against imperialism. A small number of these ruling bourgeoisies is extremely reactionary and are tied in a thousand and one ways to imperialism. Others, especially those in Venezuela, Mexico and Tanzania play an objectively revolutionary role in the world today. In all of these countries, without exception, the leadership of the proletariat is decisive in them taking a really firm stand against imperialism and hegemonism. It is vital to recognise that the national question is subordinate to the class question. We support those national struggles which take forward the worldwide struggle for proletarian revolution. The reason that the revolution in third world countries takes a national form is that the main enemy in these countries is foreign imperialism. The fundamental contradiction in all societies between the forces of production and the relations of production manifests itself in these countries, in general, in a principal contradiction between the mass of the people on the one hand, and foreign imperialism, propping up feudal survivals and bureaucrat capitalism, on the other. The revolutionary struggle of the proletariat in these countries is therefore a struggle for national-democratic revolution.

The bourgeoisie and the proletariat in all of these countries are struggling for leadership of the masses of the people. Even though many of these third world bourgeoisies struggle hard against imperialism and hegemonism and are therefore progressive, they are fighting against imperialism in their own self-interest and oppose the struggle of the proletariat to intensify and deepen the struggle in their interest and that of the mass of the people. As Mao said of the Chinese national bourgeoisie in the 1920s:

the national bourgeoisie ... is inconsistent in its attitude towards the Chinese revolution: the need for revolution and favour the revolutionary movement against imperialism and the warlords when they are under the blows of foreign capital and the oppression of the warlords, but they become suspicious of the revolution when they sense that, with the militant participation of the proletariat at home and the active support of the international proletariat abroad, the revolution is threatening the hope of their class to attain the status of a big bourgeoisie. (“Selected Works”, Vol 1. p14).

Although the concrete political conditions in the third world today are different from those in China in the 1920s, this quote exactly describes the ideology and consequent vacillations of the third world bourgeoisie as a whole today.

It is essential therefore that the proletariat in these countries raises the banner of national independence and wins over the masses of the people, particularly the peasants, and including those elements of the bourgeoisie willing to fight imperialism, and carries out a thoroughgoing national-democratic revolution in order to achieve genuine national independence. Only then will it be able afterwards to lead the mass of the people against the bourgeoisie in socialist revolution.

The slogan of “Workers of all countries, Unite!” means that the proletariat of the advanced capitalist countries must firmly unite with the proletariat of the oppressed nations in their revolutionary struggles. Thus while we support the struggle of the third world countries against imperialism and hegemonism, we support even more the national-democratic revolutionary struggle within those countries. The people of countries like Burma, Thailand, Malaya, Argentina, Chile etc., countries which have won formal independence, are, led by the proletariat and based on the worker peasant alliance, carrying out valiant armed struggle for revolution in their countries. It is our bounden internationalist duty to support their struggles, struggles which are a component part of the world-wide proletarian revolution.

For a time a rightist tendency on this question existed in the RCLB. It was considered what we should support in our propaganda only the struggle of third world countries, that is, those countries which had won formal independence, and also struggles for national liberation like that in Zimbabwe. It was considered that we should not do propaganda on the national-democratic revolution in those countries which had won formal independence, on the grounds that it is up to the people themselves in those countries to sort out their own internal contradictions. There is some truth in this view, to the extent that even the bourgeoisie in these countries is oppressed by imperialism and can therefore play a revolutionary role, and in many cases is playing a revolutionary, or at least progressive, role. But it is a erroneous view because it negates our internationalist duty to support the struggles of the proletariat throughout the world. It also objectively fails to support the national democratic revolution in these countries by lending credence to these attempts of the bourgeoisie in these countries to portray themselves as indomitable fighters against imperialism, when they are at best a vacillating force, and to suppress the revolutionary struggles in those countries. It therefore hands over leadership to the bourgeoisie, and objectively supports the suppression of the revolution in those countries. We must understand deeply that even relatively progressive bourgeoisies, like that in Burma, are opposed to the deepening of the revolution and are attempting to suppress it through armed attacks. As Lenin said, Communists should:

... support bourgeois-liberation movements in the colonies only when they are genuinely revolutionary and when their exponents do not hinder our work of educating and organising in a revolutionary spirit the peasantry and the masses of the exploited. If these conditions do not exist, the Communists in these countries must combat the reformist bourgeoisie .. (“Selected Works”, Vol.3, p467).

The ideological basis of this error lay in not fully grasping the leading role of the proletariat and thereby one-sidedly emphasising unity in the international united front to the detriment of struggle. The theory of the three worlds is a strategic orientation for the international proletariat and the oppressed people and nations, and provides or them ...a powerful ideological weapon for forging unity and building the broadest united front against the two hegemonist powers and their war policies and for pushing the world revolution forwards.” (“People’s Daily” editorial of 1.11.77.). In this struggle for world revolution it is imperative, as the CPC says, that “The proletariat of all countries must make an effort to study and disseminate Marxism-Leninism, play the exemplary role of vanguard in this struggle, fulfil their internationalist obligations and give all-out support and assistance to the people of all countries in their fight against imperialism and hegemonism.. ” (Ibid. p48). Only if the proletariat of all countries struggles to take the leadership from the bourgeoisie can-the united front be successful. Again to quote the “People’s Daily” editorial:

The world can only advance in the course of struggle, and it is only through struggle that unity can be achieved. If unity is sought through struggle, it will live; if unity is sought through yielding, it will perish. This unity can be achieved and enhanced step by step only in the course of the struggle against national betrayal, appeasement and neo-colonialism and in the course of countering the attacks of the reactionary forces against the progressive forces. (p64).

The international proletariat therefore, whilst firmly upholding and supporting the struggle of the third world countries against imperialism and hegemonism, must strengthen its unity throughout the world, take the lead in fighting imperialism, deepen the revolutionary struggle in all countries, and recognise that the best possible contribution-to the international united front lies in the revolutionary seizure of power.

The CPC summed up these principles in the polemic against Soviet revisionism, when it said:

History has entrusted to the proletariat Parties in these areas (Asia, Africa and Latin America) the glorious mission of holding high the banner of struggle against imperialism, against old and new colonialism and for national independence and people’s democracy, of standing in the forefront of the national-democratic revolutionary movement and striving for a socialist future .. On the basis of the worker-peasant alliance the proletariat and its party must unite all the strata that can be united and organize a broad united front against imperialism and its lackeys. In order to consolidate and expand this united front it is necessary that the proletarian party should maintain its ideological, political and organizational independence and insist on the leadership of the revolution. (“Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement”, p204.).


Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and world-wide proletarian revolution, as Stalin said. One of Lenin’s immortal contributions was his all-round development of Marxism on the question of imperialism and in particular his bold struggle against the social chauvinists of the Second International. Imperialism and the oppression of the majority of the world’s nations by a handful of “great” powers transformed the national question from a, matter of particular internal state questions like those of Ireland and Poland, into a general question of the world revolution. It also transformed the dependant countries from being a reserve of the international bourgeoisie into a potential reserve of the international proletariat. The struggle of the oppressed people and nations against imperialism for national liberation became a component part of the world-wide proletarian revolution. This is why, in struggle against the social-chauvinists of the Second International, the Communist International raised the clarion call “Workers and Oppressed Peoples and Nations, unite!” to replace the old slogan “Workers of All Countries, Unite!” which the opportunists had dragged in the mud by their social-chauvinism.

Since then, the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed people and nations has reached new heights. In China, Albania, Korea, Kampuchea, Vietnam, and Laos the working class has seized state power and is constructing socialism. In many other countries, particularly the countries of southern Africa, the struggle of the people for national-democratic revolution is nearing success. The third world as a whole, people and countries, is striking tremendous blows against imperialism and hegemonism. Countries like Venezuela and Mexico are leading the struggle for a new international economic order. Countries like Burma, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tanzania are leading the non-aligned movement against superpower hegemonism. Countries like the Sudan, Somalia and Egypt have fought back hard against the Soviet Union’s attempts to transform them into colonies and neo-colonies. Even countries like Iran, Brazil and the Philippines, countries which have many reactionary features, are standing up against imperialism and hegemonism through organizations like OPEC and ASEAN. There is no doubt that the third world as a whole and in general has been transformed from a reserve of imperialism into a force which is the main force in fighting colonialism, imperialism and hegemonism.

However, it must also be said that there are many setbacks in this struggle such as the tragedy of Angola. This is in the first place a question of proletarian leadership in the third world countries themselves. It is also a question of the unity of the two great revolutionary movements of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries for socialist revolution and that of the oppressed peoples and nations for national-democratic revolution. Not only is proletarian leadership a necessity for the most thoroughgoing anti-imperialist struggles in the third world, so is the solidarity between these two great revolutionary movements. As Stalin said:

... the interest of the proletarian movement in the developed countries and of the national liberation movement in the colonies call for the union of these two forms of the revolutionary movement into a common front against the common enemy, against imperialism. (“Foundations of Leninism” Peking ed., p77).

In practice, the revolutionary movement of the oppressed peoples and nations has taken place in the absence of substantial support from the working class of the advanced capitalist countries. The victory of the counter-revolution in Europe in the 1920s, the strength of opportunism in the west and in particular the triumph of modern revisionism, in the Communist Parties after the antifascist war of 1941-45, all meant that the working class was not given the thorough going internationalist education necessary for it to fulfil its internationalist duty to render the most selfless support to the struggle of the oppressed people and nations.

Thanks to the growth of Communism in the east, when the focus of contradictions in the world shifted from Europe to Asia in the I920s, the people of those countries were able to take to the path of revolution and in. several cases, notably China, carried out successful national-democratic revolutions. It is also the case though, that the strength of opportunism in western countries facilitated the attempts of the imperialist bourgeoisie to reassert their control of the colonies after the anti-fascist war. To take two examples: it is probable that the heroic armed national liberation struggle of the people of Malaya against British imperialism would have been successful, had it not been for the betrayal of that struggle by the revisionist leadership of the “C”PGB and their total failure to boldly rouse the working class of Britain; similarly, it is probable that the struggle of the people of Algeria against French imperialism would have been more thoroughgoing had it not been for the parallel failure of the revisionist P“C”F to lead the French working class, although here it must be said that the absence of proletarian leadership of the Algerian revolution was a very big factor.

These failures were failures of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries also. The internationalisation of capital by imperialism, in particular the receipt of super profits from imperialist exploitation, has enabled the bourgeoisie in the west to postpone the inevitable socialist revolution for decades. In particular it has greatly contributed to the strength of opportunism and enabled the opportunists to seize the leadership of the working class. Each time therefore that the imperialist bourgeoisie manages to retain its hold on a dependant country, as the British imperialists did in Malaya, this is a big setback for the working class in the imperialist country. Conversely, each victory of the national-democratic revolution (and in fact, any defeat of imperialism by the third world) in the dependant countries is a victory for us in the imperialist countries, in that it further weakens “our” imperialist bourgeoisie and brings that much closer , the socialist revolution. In recent years the victories of the people of Indo-China have shaken imperialism to its foundations. The coming victories in southern Africa will strike it a mortal blow.


These questions are vital ones for the revolution in Britain. We must not take the road of social-chauvinism that the “C”PGB took and neglect our internationalist duty to struggle in solidarity with those nations oppressed by British imperialism. In the last issue we made an all-round denunciation of the CPB (M-L) for its stinking social-chauvinism. It is also necessary for the RCLB to make a self-criticism for some errors of this nature. Although the RCLB has never plumbed the depths which the CPB (M-L) has, it has relatively neglected its duties to lead the British working class in struggle against British imperialist exploitation of the oppressed people and nations. In words the RCLB recognised its duties to do this, but its deeds did not live up to its words. Politically, this error came about because in recognising that Britain is a second world country, subject to superpower aggression and threat, we forgot in practice that Britain’s other aspect and its primary aspect at that, is that it is itself a bloody imperialist country which cruelly exploits many third world countries. Ideologically, the error occurred because we had not sufficiently grasped the crucial importance of the unity of the working class of Britain with those peoples and nations oppressed by British imperialism and had not bothered to educate ourselves on this question. Objectively these were serious right opportunist errors which, if not corrected, would have developed into full blown social-chauvinism. These errors were quite marked in our practice and propaganda. In “Class Struggle”, in the seven issues published from the founding of the RCLB to the Central Committee meeting which decided that the right opportunism on this question must be rectified, there were eleven articles on Soviet social imperialism in the world, and only four on British imperialism. Although it is essential that militant propaganda is done on the threat from Soviet social imperialism, this balance of articles, especially considering that the articles on British imperialism were secondary articles, forgot that in its international relations Britain is primarily an imperialist exploiter and oppressor. What is quite startling is that two articles on the struggle in southern Africa (’South African Liberation Forces Make Further Advances’ in the August1977 issue, and ’Despite Fascist Repression Azanian People Fight On’ in the November 1977 issue) managed to avoid even mentioning British imperialism! It is quite evident that the leadership of the RCLB had seriously neglected its duties to educate the membership of the League on British imperialism. Another example of this error is that although the RCLB had correctly organized a demonstration on the occasion of the 9th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, it at that time felt it couldn’t spare the time to organise practical work to fulfil its internationalist duty to work in solidarity with the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe.

The Central Committee and the whole membership of the RCLB is determined to rectify these errors! In future ’Class Struggle’ will follow Lenin’s instruction that “The weight of emphasis in the internationalist education of the workers in the oppressing nations must necessarily consist in their advocating and upholding freedom of secession for oppressed countries, without that there can be no internationalism.” (Quoted in “Foundation of Leninism”, Peking ed p80). The journal will carry out its internationalist duty to educate the British working class on the fundamental unity of interest of the working class and those nations oppressed by British imperialism. Further the RCLB has taken due note of Lenin’s blunt warning that “it is our right and duty to treat every Social-Democrat of an oppressing nation who fails to conduct such propaganda as an imperialist and a scoundrel. (ibid. p 80-81. emphases in the original).


Britain is a second world imperialist country. On a world-wide scale the countries of the second world are lesser enemies than the two superpowers. Over the years the second world· countries have gradually lost most of their colonies and have been muscled out of their neo-co1onies by the two superpowers. As the CPC says:

On the whole they no longer constitute the main force dominating and oppressing these (the third world) countries.” (“People’s Daily editorial. p56). We should therefore not make a fetish out of fighting British imperialism and deeply understand that countries like Britain are countries which can be united with in the international united front against superpower hegemonism. They can though only be united with ”... if the oppressed peoples and nations and the British working class firmly struggle against its imperialist nature. (’Manifesto of the RCLB’, pl).

Britain is a particularly big international exploiter and oppressor within the second world. It is a very unstable, vacillating and treacherous member of the united front. Even compared with other second world countries like Canada, Australia and Sweden, Britain is very reactionary.

In recent years Britain has been forced by the third world countries to take up a less reactionary position than previously. It has for instance supported the OPEC countries to some extent and was less reactionary than the two superpowers at the UNCTAD conference on the struggle for a new international economic order. We firmly support the British government in these steps but have no illusions that the imperialist nature of Britain has changed. Although no longer a ’great’ power, and despite some concessions wrung from it through the struggle of the third world countries, Britain in general plays a reactionary role in the world. It tails behind US imperialism, hoping to get a few crumbs from the rich man’s table, and appeases the Soviet Union. It opposes the struggle of the third world because of its imperialist nature, although its weakening position has forced it to support some of their demands out of its own self-interest.

To understand this deeply we must look at Britain’s position in the world economically.

One of the most characteristic features of imperialism is the export of capital – as Lenin said:

Typical of the old capitalism, when free competition had undivided sway, was the export of goods. Typical of the “latest stage of capitalism when monopolies rule, is the export of capital. (“Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”. Peking ed., p 72. Emphasis in the original.)

In 1914, when Britain was the biggest ’great’ power, it easily outstripped it rivals in this respect. Today, this is no longer the case. Britain has now clearly been outstripped by the USA, but remains the second biggest imperialist power in terms of foreign assets. These figures though refer to the total amount of assets owned. That Britain’s position as an imperialist power is declining further in relation to other imperialist powers, especially the US superpower, can be seen when we look at the actual outflow of capital in a typical year around the same time as the figures for total capital abroad.

Although Britain’s relative position to other imperialist countries is declining, the great importance to the British imperialist bourgeoisie of super profits from imperialist exploitation of the oppressed people and nations remains. Over the past twenty years the proportion of such profit to the whole has remained pretty constant. The lesson for us is that fighting such exploitation has not diminished in importance, if we are serious about the socialist revolution in Britain.

Although a large part of British capital and of its foreign investment income is now in and from other imperialist countries, the majority of it is in and from the third world and other second world countries with which Britain has an imperialist relationship, such as Australia.

Much imperialist exploitation of the third world countries and peoples is done through unequal trading relationships, from the imperialist practice of buying raw materials cheap and selling finished goods dear, and thereby perpetuating the underdevelopment of the oppressed nations. Here again we can see that although Britain has declined in relation to other imperialist countries, it is still a big imperialist power.

The general picture from all this economic analysis is of an imperialist power, though not a superpower, which makes immense profits out of its imperialist plunder of third world and other countries. It is scarcely surprising then that in relation to the third world. Britain plays a very reactionary role in the world today. We must deeply understand that, as Lenin said, “Politics is the concentrated expression of economics”. It is Britain’s considerable interest in the perpetuation of the imperialist system that accounts for this reactionary stance. It is likewise the knocks and blows which Britain has received from the people of the world, particularly the third world, its relative decline as an imperialist power, and the threat posed by the two superpowers, especially Soviet social imperialism, which accounts for the fact that Britain can no longer play the reactionary role it did twenty, and certainly sixty years ago. The lesson of this is that the potential which Britain has as a second world country to play a progressive role in the world today, can only be realised by firm, resolute and unwavering struggle against it, and not by letting it off the hook and capitulating to it. At the same time, we support whatever progressive measures the British government does take in the world today. Here we must stress that in the international united front, the third world people and countries are the main force in combating imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism -not just hegemonism alone. Only if we grasp this fact can we properly evaluate the nature and role of second world countries. The fact is well illustrated by the particular case of Zimbabwe.


Not only are some second world countries like Britain big international exploiters, it is also the case that some of them are the main enemy of particular third world countries.

“Rhodesia” was colonised by British settlers in 1890 and named so after Cecil Rhodes, the bloody international criminal and arch-imperialist. “Rhodesia” became a part of the British Empire during the “scramble for Africa” in the 1890s, when the European colonial powers, greedy for sources of raw materials and outlets for the export of capital, carved up Africa between them. It only became firmly established as a colony through the bloody suppression of the resistance of the people of Zimbabwe in colonial wars in 1896/97.

Although the British imperialists granted “Rhodesia” “self-government” in 1923, it is still a British colony. The British government granted self-government to the settlers 1n “Rhodesia” in order to handle the contradiction with the settlers to their advantage, to allow them freedom to get on with farming and some manufacture, while retaining control of mining, big farming including tobacco, and big manufacture. By 1965 British imperialism was in the middle of a process of shifting from a colonial to a neo-colonial strategy in Africa, under the pressure of the liberation and independence movements and the challenge of US imperialism. In “Rhodesia” it tried to maintain a direct colonial rule, because of the contradictions with the settlers, and colluded with the settlers in the “Unilateral Declaration of Independence” in 1965.

At the time of UDI British imperialism was clearly the main enemy of the people of Zimbabwe. It was the occupying colonial power, the power which controlled the state apparatus of police, army and judiciary. It was the power which had to be smashed for the people of Zimbabwe to be free. Stemming from its hold of state power it was also the biggest exploiter of the people of Zimbabwe, as can be seen from the following tables. It is also the case that Zimbabwe was particularly important to the British imperialists, accounting for 7.7% of all British imperialist investments abroad in 1965.

Since UDI, despite the pretence of sanctions, British imperialist economic and political control of Zimbabwe has largely remained intact, although it is increasingly being challenged by US imperialism, with Soviet social imperialism waiting in the wings. British imperialism has continued to pour capital into Zimbabwe. The following table gives only direct British investment as the imperialists now channel most of it through “South Africa”.

Although other imperialist countries, particularly the USA, have channelled capital into Zimbabwe, Britain has retained the lion’s share since 1965.

Behind political events and actions we must look for economic interests. The British imperialists are playing the major role in the bourgeoisie’s attempts to retain control of Zimbabwe because they have the lion’s share of imperialist interests there and also because they still hold state power there. The Smith settler regime is in the main shielding and representing the interests of British imperialism there.

A problem of analysing economic and political interests in Zimbabwe is the role of “South Africa”. “South Africa” has invested much capital in Zimbabwe in recent years and controls many companies there – out of the twelve top companies in Zimbabwe, seven are registered in “South Africa”. But this is quite misleading. As Britain is also the main exploiter of the people of Azania (being responsible for over 60%.of all foreign capital invested there and around 20% of foreign trade), much exploitation of Zimbabwe by “South Africa” is in reality exploitation by British imperialism. This is illustrated by the fact that many companies operating in Zimbabwe, and which claim to be “South African” are in reality “South African” subsidiaries of British imperialist companies, for example Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa and Whites South Africa Portland Cement.


The struggle of the people of Zimbabwe, led by ZANU and the Patriotic Front, for national democratic revolution, is a component and very important part of the world proletarian revolution. For the working class of Britain this is a particularly important question. It is our bounden duty to render the fullest possible support to the struggle of the people of Zimbabwe if we are to fulfil our internationalist duty. It also is in our own self-interest. When the revolution in Zimbabwe is victorious it will strike a mighty blow at our common enemy. British imperialism, and bring that much closer the socialist revolution in Britain. Likewise the solidarity of the British workers with the Zimbabwean revolution will hasten the victory of that revolution. Our two revolutions support each other and are indispensable to the final victory of each other.

We must firmly grasp Lenin’s words that:

The revolutionary be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely united with the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of ’colonial’ slaves who are oppressed by capital. (“Selected Works”, Vol 3. p406).

It is for these reasons that the RCLB has launched a campaign of solidarity work with the struggle in Zimbabwe. This struggle will continue in various forms until the final victory of the Zimbabwean national democratic revolution and into the period of socialist revolution in Zimbabwe. We are determined not to follow in the social chauvinist foot-steps of the “C”PGB! We are determined to unite closely with our class brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe!