Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist League of Britain

Political Platform of the RCL

First Published: July 1992
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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1. We are living under a system which is more and more clearly revealed as the enemy of humanity. It has vast productive potential, but only means poverty and oppression for the masses. It brings starvation to the working people of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and is even now draining them through the so-called third world debt. It imposes draconian cuts in living standards on the already poor labouring masses, simply in the interest of still greater profits for the capitalist class in the industrialised countries.

2. Capitalism is responsible for the thoughtless destruction of the environment. Its armaments industry monopolises most of the world’s research and development and cynically profits from a series of local wars of unparalleled destructiveness. The repression of those who dare to rebel against the system adds to the list of casualties.

3. The root cause of all this is capitalism’s guiding principle, the quest for profit, which takes precedence over any human interest.

4. Before capitalism there was oppression of classes, of women and of some nationalities by others. But the social systems which then existed functioned as a framework for a stable reproduction of the needs of human life. Only capitalism as a system undercuts the future of humanity as such.

5. Capitalism evolved as a world system. From the beginning it has been built upon genocide of whole peoples.

6. The first capitalist investment was in ventures to plunder the resources of Asia, Africa and the Americas, and particularly in the slave trade. Capitalist growth in the industrial heartlands has always presupposed the enforced underdevelopment of the rest of the world.

7. Facing the plunder of their human and natural resources, the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America and indigenous peoples of Australasia and the Americas have fought back unremittingly. Their struggles constitute the main force resisting capitalism at a world level.

8. National oppression has been heightened in the highest stage of capitalism, imperialism, which is the system under which we are now living. Since imperialism oppresses whole nations, the struggles of oppressed people inevitably take on a national form. Only when the working masses of these countries take the lead in such movements can the struggle be carried through to the final overthrow of imperialism.

9. Today more than ever, under conditions of imperialism, capitalism brings nothing but misery and exploitation to the masses of the oppressed nations, while exploitation of the working masses within the imperialist heartlands is also on the increase. From the standpoint of the vast majority of the world’s people it is already an obsolete system, and the productive forces and technology it has created will have to be turned to the benefit of humanity as a whole under a new social system.

10. Capitalism cannot be reformed. It has undergone many changes in its history, but these have simply meant finding new ways to exploit the labouring people. The only solution is to destroy it and build a new social system.


11. Marx and Engels explained in the last century that only the working class could be the force bringing about the necessary revolutionary transformation of society. The working class must smash the state power of the exploiters, set up a new transitional form of society, socialism, leading eventually to classless society, communism. The central feature of Marxism is the revolutionary science of historical materialism. They saw that socialism would be a class society in which the working class would become the dominant class; this would create real democracy for the majority of the people, but there would be a need to suppress the deposed capitalist class. This they termed ’the dictatorship of the proletariat’.

12. Since Marx there have been several attempts at socialist revolutions, and these have accumulated important experience, both positive and negative. Throughout history, it is only struggle which can hold the exploiters in check. It is always a good thing to attempt to make revolution, and if people waited until they had a perfect formula it would be impossible to accumulate any experience.

13. The outstanding problem is that, although some revolutions have been overthrown by frontal attacks, the majority have been subverted from within through the development of exploitative structures before they formally changed political colour. Regimes which have turned repressive towards the masses of the people but still call themselves socialist can create a lot of confusion. This is the main lesson to sum up.

14. Today the destructive threat of capitalism is so acute that humanity cannot afford the luxury of a lengthy process of experimentation on the road to socialism. This means that we have to be very serious in learning from the movement’s past mistakes. The RCL places great emphasis on being honest about errors. Historical materialism takes reality as its basis. We are convinced that the application of historical materialism is still the way forward, including as a method for dealing with the movement’s own errors.


15. The October revolution in Russia laid the basis for the development of socialism, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was correct to attempt to build this in one country. But the attempt ultimately failed and a new form of capitalism developed in the Soviet Union through a long process beginning during the period of Stalin’s leadership.

16. The CPSU under Stalin made the fundamental mistake of thinking that the abolition of the legal ownership of the means of production eliminated the basis for an exploiting class to exist. It also treated state ownership and control over everything as a criterion of socialism. This led to the construction of a centralised oppressive state apparatus, which in fact became the context for a new ruling class to emerge. The highly centralised economy and state apparatus was fundamentally in opposition to developing a mechanism for democratic control over all aspects of society. It was a crucial error not to recognise that class struggle remained a basic feature of socialist society. The breaking of the worker-peasant alliance seriously weakened the forces that could be used to build socialism.

17. Social groups such as women, peasants and national minorities also have their own interests which may differ from those expressed in a policy defined as being in the interest of the majority group. They too should have a right, ideologically as well as organisationally, to influence the overall line through a system of supervision and control. While the Party needs to lead, it is equally important for there to be mechanisms to challenge its line. All these factors were misunderstood, and in practice any expression of popular dissent which did arise was treated by definition as counter-revolutionary and antagonistic to socialism.

18. In these circumstances it was possible for the bureaucratic class to restore capitalist relations over a period culminating in the accession of Khrushchev to power.

19. Internally the Soviet state bourgeoisie exercised extreme authoritarian control, involving repression of all other classes, denial of democratic rights and subjugation of minority nationalities. This can be characterised as social fascism.

20. Externally the Soviet Union behaved as a social-imperialist power. It enslaved the peoples of Eastern Europe, invaded Afghanistan and assisted in the repression of Eritrea, tried to stop revolutionary movements pursuing an independent line of struggle against US imperialism, and attempted to submit them to its own control. The combined effect of the USSR’s domination and exploitation of the countries of Eastern Europe and the exploitation of the state sector of India plus the military expansionism and attempts at world domination made it a rival to US imperialism. Despite the internal weakness of the USSR’s system it was a superpower.

21. The fall of socialism in the Soviet Union, when it occurred, was a tragedy for the revolutionary cause. However, the system which was overturned there in the recent period had ceased a long time ago to have anything to do with socialism. Its destruction can thus be seen as a victory for the people of the former Soviet Union, and for the peoples of those countries oppressed by it, while it also removes a source of confusion in the revolutionary ranks.


22. The Chinese revolution which achieved victory in 1949 was the culmination of one of the most important chapters in the history of anti-imperialist liberation struggles.

23. Under the leadership of Mao Zedong, the Communist Party of China (CPC) pursued policies which took the healthy development of agriculture as the foundation of the national economy, and thus maintained the class alliance between workers and peasants as a sound basis for revolutionary power.

24. While the Chinese revolution solved problems particular to an oppressed, semi-colonial country, it also developed policies which are of wider relevance to the cause of building a qualitatively new society. Examples of positive policies include the following: the vitality of the countryside made the growth of large cities unnecessary, indigenous techniques were promoted, many of them ecologically sound, the positive side of non-Western science was built upon, differentials in wages were restricted, intellectuals and state functionaries were encouraged to take part in manual labour. The ’mass line’ method of leadership was of key importance in developing socialist democracy.

25. The above experience is an extremely important treasure of revolutionary history. All progressive people everywhere have a duty to preserve and learn from it, and not allow it to be lost sight of just because of the subsequent collapse of socialism in China.

26. There were also negative aspects which must be criticised. Although early policies with regard to women and national minorities were positive with respect to struggling against forms of oppression left from the old society, it appears there was little understanding of the fact that new forms of oppression could arise under socialism. There were significant errors of great-nation chauvinism, notably on the question of Tibet.

27. On important occasions the mass line was violated and contradictions among the people mishandled by the CPC. This was particularly so during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR).

28. The CPC was aware that classes and class struggle continued after revolution. The GPCR was an attempt to mobilise the people to combat the growing power of the emerging ruling class within the Party. However, it failed to find ways of carrying out the class struggle from below, in a democratic way. Although its aims were correct, the fact remains that the power of the people cannot be imposed from above. In practice the same authoritarian elements which the GPCR was fighting existed within the movement itself. The GPCR failed to put into practice the methods devised by Mao for the conduct of class struggle under socialism, the correct handling of the contradictions among the people and letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thoughts contend.

29. The class struggle in China was eventually suppressed by the ruling class which developed, as in the Soviet Union, in the centralised state apparatus. This took place through a long and complicated process. The period of control by the ’Gang of Four’ was the continuation of power struggle within the Party and was not a period of democracy for the masses. Their overthrow was celebrated widely, but was followed by a period of the consolidation of the power of a new ruling class, which eventually revealed its fascist nature to the world by the massacre in Tien An Men Square.


30. Developing democracy in the context of ongoing class struggle is the key to building a socialist system. Although it is essential to have overall co-ordination and planning in the economy this must not be seen as developing a centralised economy. Likewise people’s democracy must be dominant in a decentralised state machinery. Centralisation is anti- democratic. The development of socialism is part of the withering away of the state.

31. The question, then, is how degeneration occurred. The following are some of the major conclusions we think are useful for the revolutionary people in the ’next round’ of struggle.

32. There was a damaging tendency for the interests of the world revolution to be subordinated to the national security of large socialist states, and in some instances this argument was even used to justify blatant aggression.

33. Socialism was often seen as economic growth minus capitalist crises, and state control was seen as a definition of socialism. The capitalist definition of growth was thus taken on board, rather than seeing socialism as a different quality of life.

34. Socialist science and technology were seen as building in a linear way on the ’achievements’ of capitalism. But in reality, early and indigenous societies had their own science, technology and cultures which were ecologically sound, and this is also a root which socialism must build upon.

35. Women’s struggle for liberation was prevented from developing as an active factor in building a qualitatively new society. The women’s struggle is indispensible, not just for dealing with ’women’s issues’, but as a critique of society at large, and the existence of exploitative structures within it.

36. It was generally the majority nationality in socialist states which set the agenda, and national minorities were squeezed into this mould. Apart from the fact that national oppression is absolutely unjustified in principle, this practice also deprived socialism of a vital positive input, since minorities are often those who have most fiercely preserved democratic and environmentally sound structures.

37. The Communist Party has a key role to play in formulating revolutionary policy after the victory of a revolution. But Communists must lead by example. The Party must not fuse with the state, and must be genuinely democratic internally, as well as in its relations with the people. In particular it is vital for the Party’s development that people be encouraged to challenge its ideas. This is the only way it can continue to make progress and grow strong through theoretical and practical struggles. There should be political pluralism, including the possibility to form parties other than the Communist Party.

38. It has been clear to many progressive people since the 1950’s at least that the society being built in the Soviet Union could not be called ’socialist’ and could not provide inspiration to other oppressed peoples. However, China continued to provide a living example of a people trying to build a new and popular form of socialism. It is a tragedy that in the 1990’s, it is clear that in China too, repression is now widespread, class differences are on the increase and we can no longer look for inspiration there. This is a time when the anti-people character of capitalism is more apparent than ever and the need for a revolutionary alternative has never been more urgent.

39. But the existence of imperialist oppression makes it inevitable that liberation struggles will continue to take Marxism as their guide. Revolutionary movements are already making progress by learning from these negative experiences, and a new revolutionary tide is already on the horizon.


40. In every country, revolutionaries have a duty to make revolution where they are. Britain is an imperialist oppressor state, within which the Welsh and Scottish nations are themselves oppressed. In terms of revolutionary strategy, the League only sets out to put forward a position in relation to England.

41. Britain was the first industrial power and for a long time the leading power in colonising, oppressing and exploiting the peoples of Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australasia. Its development has also been inseparably linked with the oppression of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh nations.

42. In the early period of capitalism English working people too were desperately oppressed and exploited. Women made up an important part of the workforce in the early days of factory production. Together with children, they were used as the cheapest form of labour. This, together with the large scale migration to urban centres, disrupted patterns of living and threatened the reproduction of the system in the immediate term.

43. Mass movements developed which challenged the new system of capitalism and introduced ideas of a different way of organising society based on collective and socialist principles. In this period, some parts of the working class movement were opposed to national oppression in the colonies, particularly the practice of slavery and the subjugation of Ireland, and advocated rights for women in the new society.

44. The growth of colonialism, and particularly imperialism, provided the material basis for the defusing of class struggle. The ruling class propagated ideas of the racial superiority of European people in order to justify its exploitation of the oppressed peoples and was able to some extent to create a sense of unity behind British imperialism in its rivalry with other great powers, who were also acting in a similar way.

45. Initially, concessions were made to a small section of the male working class and they gained a standard of living substantially better than the majority of working people. They were given a voice politically through the extension of the franchise and the acceptance of legal trade unions.

46. Later, particularly in the 2Oth century, welfare provisions were introduced which benefited most working people but were at the same time used to control them.

47. Parallel to these developments, the ideology of the family, and women’s role within it, was used to ensure more stable reproduction of the workforce. Women’s social labour was restricted through legislation, and more important still, the ideal of women’s main role as unpaid wife and mother in the home was promoted.

48. Capitalism profited from the unpaid labour of women in the maintenance and reproduction of the workforce, at a cost of concessions to some sections of the male workforce who took up the demand for a family wage and for the exclusion of women from social production.

49. In reality, the majority of working class women had to combine paid and unpaid work for family survival. The importance of women’s work was not acknowledged by working class and social leaders of the time.

50. An important historical lesson is that the left movement tends to reflect the ideological climate in which it develops unless it consciously combat this. This can be seen in the failure of many socialist and working class leaders to see the importance of taking a stand against the oppression of nations and of women by British imperialism.

51. The working class has always fought to defend its class interests. But this struggle will be limited within the system itself unless taken forward with a conscious revolutionary perspective.

52. In the early part of the 2Oth century, the British ruling class faced a threat to its power from different directions. Women were organising on a broad basis for equal rights, such as in employment, the vote and for socialism. The working class, particularly miners, were in revolt. At the same time a major revolutionary threat came from Ireland. There were many links between the three distinct movements. But the relatively privileged position of many leading elements in the working class and labour movement meant that this movement was fairly easily co-opted into alliance with imperialism, particularly at the time of World War I.

53. The Labour Party has always been an instrument of capitalist rule over the working class. The Communist Party of Great Britain was founded as a revolutionary alternative for working class organisation, and made some significant contributions. However, there were major weaknesses in its position. It failed to understand that the oppressed nations are the focal point of change in the world system: on the one hand capitalism draws massive resources from them through super-exploitation, on the other hand this very process of super-exploitation prepares the revolutionary factors for the overthrow of capitalism.

54. Looking narrowly at the situation within Britain during the crisis of inter-war years, the CPGB thought that the capitalist system was in its death-throes and that the triumph of socialism was inevitable on a fairly short horizon. When this failed to happen after 1945, there was total demobilisation, and failure to see the revolutionary factors which did exist on a world scale.


55. After World War II there were important changes in the organisation of capitalism. Production and trade expanded. A key basis for this was heightened exploitation of the resources of Asia, Africa and Latin America. After the liberation movements had taken colonialism to the point of collapse, the spread of a dependent form of capitalism (neo- colonialism} in these areas soon made it possible for imperialism to extract still greater profits from them.

56. Within capitalist countries like Britain, the ruling class brought in ’Keynesian’ policies, allowing working-class purchasing power to rise so as to absorb the products of industry by means of mass consumption of consumer goods. This strategy went hand-in-hand with the introduction of the welfare state, so there was a real rise in living standards while the expanding economy led to a growth in employment.

57. The ’boom’ really signified a restructuring of exploitation and social control, with some sectors being exploited in an intensified way. Unionised workers in large factories were able to win real economic improvements, often through militant rank and file action taken in defiance of the union leadership. There was a dual labour market, with women entering part-time and low-paid work, upon which the welfare state was largely founded. Women’s gender-roles were carefully structured by official ideology, and the welfare state itself facilitated social control particularly through the education system. And the whole edifice would have been impossible without the super-exploited labour of large numbers of workers brought in from the oppressed nations.

58. These developments misled most of the left. They thought the system had stabilised itself, ignored the intensification of the contradictions of imperialism on a world scale, and turned a blind eye to the super-exploitation of large groups of people even within Britain itself. Most of the left confused the just struggle of sections of the working class for a ’bigger share of the cake’ with a revolutionary struggle against the system itself. Thus revolutionary politics were at a low ebb. But there was at the same time a superficial militance of organised labour. What this signifies is simply that the unions were increasingly being co-opted into a pattern of bargaining within the confines of the system for a bigger share in the value generated by higher productivity – which the capitalists were prepared to concede because of the massive super-profits from imperialism.

59. This worked as long as the system was still expanding, but with the crisis of the 1970s working-class organisations were thrown into disarray. Hence the explanation of the paradox that the more intense capitalist attacks on labour have become since then, the less resistance there has been from the unions and most of the left.

60. The spread of benefits among a significant section of the working class during the boom time meant that the disparity of living standards between an industrial country like Britain and the ’third world’ got considerably greater. This provided a more widespread basis for identification with the system, which was now more material and not just ideological. Thus it was no longer a situation where a small ’labour aristocracy’ formed the basis for acceptance of the system among the working class.

61. But it is incorrect to speak of the working class as an accomplice of imperialism. The British state has remained an instrument of class dictatorship over the working class, and its arsenal of repressive measures has constantly increased over the post-war period. There were always important segments of the class that were super-exploited and oppressed and who had not benefited from a general increase in the standard of living. In particular, many of the gains that were made by the working class have been lost in the restructuring of British imperialism.

62. Since the mid-1970’s, the structure of capitalism in this country has changed in a way that has sharpened class antagonisms in general. These changes are fundamental and not a result of the policies of anyone political party.

63. In general the working class has been hard hit by growing unemployment, the loss of jobs in manufacturing, a heavier burden of taxation, cuts in the welfare state and growing poverty and homelessness.

64. Within this general trend, the crisis has affected different segments of the class unevenly. Those remaining in skilled work have experienced a rise in their wages, although their standards of living are still affected by cuts in the Welfare State. The exploitation of working-class home-owners through high interest rates forms part of a strategy to maintain the level of economic activity through massive indebtedness, while the so-called democratisation of share ownership simply facilitates control of the economy by the large shareholdings.

65. At the same time, unemployed and low-paid workers face the most drastic cuts in living standards. The national minority working class, already mainly restricted to low-paid work, face massive unemployment disproportionate to its numbers. Women have lost jobs in industries such as clothing and the National Health Service and are employed in even greater numbers in low-paid, ’flexible’ forms of employment. At the same time, they are expected to make up for the cuts in the welfare state by a growing load of unpaid work in the home, caring for the sick and elderly. Many young people are without a job, an income or housing.

66. With poverty and unemployment on the increase, a growing number of people, particularly young people, are forced to turn to illegal activities to make a living or spontaneous acts of rebellion which bring them into conflict with the judicial system. A higher proportion of the population are locked up in England’s prisons than in any other European country including Turkey. Among them is a disproportionate number of black people. A higher proportion of women also receive prison sentences. Yet England’s prisons are hell-holes, ranging from old and overcrowded buildings not fit for animals to modern sophisticated torture chambers, which each year drive more prisoners to suicide.

67. Similarly, people classed as mentally ill or handicapped were once thrown into vast mental hospitals, where they received little care and were pacified with drugs and electric shocks. Now many of them are being thrown out onto the streets in the name of community care.

68. Recent cuts in benefit levels to those without jobs or unable to go out to work make it virtually impossible to survive on benefits. Some people are starving in Britain today. Others face worsening health and a shorter life. There is a growing underground economy, where people are forced to work at the same time as claiming benefits, without any rights or protection. Even within the formal economy, there is an increasing divide between those on relatively good pay and conditions, with some security and the majority of workers who have few rights and low wages.

69. The crisis causes further divisions in the class as well as increased exploitation. Many people are distrustful of the bourgeois parties and racism is on the increase. Domestic violence against women and children, the use of drugs, and associated violent crime against people are other results. There is an urgent need for a movement that can give leadership to the working class, so that it can fight its true enemy, on a united basis.

70. The state-bureaucratic sector of the economy has been cut back, but this only signifies the state serving capital more in a directly political role, as distinct from a managerial role. A political offensive against democratic rights has accompanied the economic offensive.

71. In such circumstances workplace struggles will continue, but social and community struggles over such issues as welfare provisions, nationality, housing, health, education and employment will become increasingly important, and will be linked to a struggle to defend democratic rights.

72. The conflict between the working class and bourgeoisie is thus still the main class issue. At the same time there are important intermediate strata, and in building the revolutionary movement it will be necessary to unite with these on any issue on which they have a clash of interest with the imperialist bourgeoisie.

73. From a perspective that only revolution can bring lasting change, it is necessary to struggle in the immediate term for any reforms which can benefit the working class, including the safeguarding of the welfare state and campaigns against reactionary policies introduced since the end of the 1970s. In doing this, it is essential to bear in mind that the Labour Party is not and can never be a vehicle of progressive social change. It is a thoroughgoing capitalist party whose whole history has identified it thoroughly with the interests of imperialism, ranging through the colonial period, the Irish question, all aspects of racism including immigration controls and the Malvinas and Gulf Wars.


74. The national minority peoples in Britain today are subjected to a specific form of oppression, national oppression. This is similar to and derives from the oppression of those nations from which the minorities came. The fragmentation of those nations, resulting in the formation of national minorities in the imperialist heartlands, is part of the process of imperialist oppression.

75. Imperialism, particularly British imperialism, subjected the nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America, the indigenous peoples of Oceania and North America and the Irish people to racist oppression. This is the most intense and vicious form of national oppression, involving the treatment of peoples as if they were not human, justified by the false ideology of a hierarchy of races. It originated in the slave trade of early capitalism and developed into a more widespread and systematic form under imperialism.

76. The national minorities in Britain, mainly from Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and Ireland, continue to suffer that racist oppression. Distinctive skin colour automatically marks out Third World nationalities as targets for racism.

77. In the course of the world-wide struggle of oppressed nationalities against racism and for national freedom, anti-imperialist ideologies have developed, one of the strongest of which can be termed the Black Power movement. The ideology of Black Power identifies the white power structure as responsible for imperialism, and also perceives the corrupting effect of racism on the white population as a whole. The term “black” has been widely regarded as a political category, defining and unifying the peoples facing racist oppression. While it has become common to refer to the national minorities in Britain from Africa, the Caribbean and Asia as black, and many activists in those communities also adopt the usage, it must be recognised that it is not universally accepted and may in fact cover up important specificities in the positions of the various national minorities.

78. Racist oppression takes many forms, from immigration control through economic and educational discrimination to violence and murder. As well as struggling against these aspects of oppression, the national minorities wage a complementary struggle for specific national rights, rights relating to language, culture and religion.

79. Within each national minority, most forms of racist oppression affect people no matter what their social class, so resistance is able to mobilise people on a cross-class basis.

80. Historically national minorities in Britain have formed organisations based on specific nationalities. Such organisations have been linked with the anti-imperialist struggles in their homelands. Alliances between such organisations have also built unity against national oppression. The strength of the specifically national organisations is however diminishing among the generations of national minorities born in Britain.

81. National minority struggles have their own dynamic which is influenced by internal contradictions, including class and gender issues, and issues between different nationalities. These contradictions are a positive force propelling them to a higher level, and their resolution is primarily the responsibility of people within those communities. There is a class struggle within black communities, which determines how far they adopt resolute opposition to or compromise with imperialism.

82. Black national minority women face oppression on different fronts, as women, as black people and as workers. Women have played an important role in the resistance to racist oppression in general, and have organised separately to take on racism in the women’s movement as well as women’s oppression from within their own communities. On some issues, for example, attacks by police on black communities, black women have seen the main issue as the defence of the whole of the black community from racist oppression. On others, for example domestic violence on black women, they call for support from other progressive forces in combating attacks on women from within their own community.

83. The state’s response to the resistance of national minority communities has been principally conditioned by the wide scale uprisings in national minority areas, the peak of which was in 1981. There has been a dual approach. First increasing police repression, often disguised as anti-drug campaigns. This policy is supplemented by tighter immigration controls and increasing racist attacks and murders (not recognised as such by the legal system which more often than not condemns the victims of racist attacks). Secondly there is the policy of incorporating sections of the national minorities into the system, by such means as funding national minority organisations and promoting national minority politicians. These methods only delay, they do not prevent national resistance.

84. One particularly important trend in the 1980’s has been the growth of a militant trend in defence of the Muslim communities within Britain. The widespread support for this trend is a reflection of the strength of Muslim organisation as well as the growth of vicious anti-Muslim racism within Britain, particularly orchestrated during the Gulf war.

85. National minority people have the right to defend their religion, to demand respect for it and equal treatment within this society, as well as a right to a good education for their children which incorporates respect of Muslim values. At the same time, the reactionary politics of much of the leadership of this trend has been criticised by many within the Muslim communities, particularly by women who have pinpointed fundamentalist aspects of the movement which are oppressive to women.


86. The class struggle and the national struggle are both directed against the British imperialist bourgeoisie. The working class, which includes the national minority working class, is involved in the class struggle. The national minority people, of all classes, are involved in the national struggle. Whereas the national minority working class are involved in, and part of, the class struggle, the national majority working class are not part of the national struggle, but can only support it.

87. The overthrow of imperialism requires the alliance between the two anti-imperialist struggles within Britain, that is, between the working class as a whole and the national minority people as a whole. The participation of the national minority working class within both struggles ensures the continuity, but not the identity, of the two struggles and makes the alliance possible.

88. A major task for communists, particularly at this stage when there are few national minority comrades involved in party-building, must be to win the English working class to support the national struggle. This is part of the general struggle against bourgeois ideology in the working class.

89. The English working class is part of an oppressor nation and has been heavily influenced by the racist and pro-imperialist ideology of the ruling class. This is intensified by the material effects of imperialism. However the relative improvement in the living standards of the working class in no way weakens the objective antagonism between the working class and the bourgeoisie of the oppressor nation. On the contrary, it even strengthens that antagonism because it represents an increase of the wealth and power of capital and thus its ability to exploit the working class.

90. Within the working class, there are contradictory ideas, on the one hand reflecting ruling class ideology and on the other, ideas stemming from their actual class position. The main forms of reactionary ideas are racist ideas, support for imperialism and class collaboration ism and sexist ideas. Balanced against these is a countervailing complex of ideas ranging from anti-racist ideas, aspects of anti-imperialist feelings and basic class consciousness and anti-sexism. The material basis for support for national rights for national minority people is the exploitation of the working class.

91. But communists alone can develop the working class ideology from the ideas arising spontaneously from oppression and exploitation, using the basic method of the mass line: that is, taking the scattered and unsystematic ideas of the masses, concentrating them and taking them back to the masses, and repeating this process in an endless spiral with the ideas becoming more correct each time. The role of communists is crucial because support for national struggle is part of a revolutionary world view and cannot emerge spontaneously. Such ideas must be introduced, in their revolutionary form, from outside. Communist education must be used to overcome the systems of ideas which has been built up over centuries to present Europe as the sole source of progress in the world.

92. The strategic aim of communists, i.e. to build an alliance between the national minority people as a whole and the working class, is in sharp contradiction with many views prevailing on the left. Such views fail to locate racism in its roots, in imperialism and the national question, but rather regard it as a device whose main function is to divide the working class and diverting it from the struggle against the real enemy. The strategy emerging from this analysis is encapsulated in the slogan ’Black and White, Unite and Fight’. In identifying the barriers to such unity, it is common to criticise black separatist views as if they were equivalent to the racism chauvinism of a fascist organisation. In fact we should support such separatist views. An alternative view is the assimilationist argument put forward by some groups on the left. This fails to appreciate the strength of national oppression and the progressive nature of national identification.

93. A simple analysis related only to class is not enough. There are real contradictions between the oppressor and oppressed nationalities, and they cannot be wished away. Simplistic calls for unity between black and white workers deny national contradictions and objectively strengthen racism rather than confronting it.

94. Rather than seeking to subordinate the struggle of national minorities to the struggle of the working class, communists support the struggle of the oppressed nationalities as a specific autonomous struggle against imperialism. The ultimate aim of this struggle is Free National Development, which brings together the different aspects of the anti-racist and national struggle in Britain.


95. Free national development for national minorities is not the same as the right to self-determination for whole nations. But it does involve the attainment of political power, and such power cannot be effective without a territorial element.

96. The national minorities in Britain are scattered and intermingled with the national majority and with each other. But there is a pattern in their settlement of concentration in particular areas. Free national development requires the establishment of autonomous territorial units where national minorities live in compact communities.

97. Within these areas, the national minorities will exercise political control, administer economic resources, organise community self-defence and ensure the development of their own culture and language. The exact nature of these autonomous units is not something which can be determined in advance, and will be for the national minorities themselves to decide and work out.

98. The goal of free national development involves more than reaction against racist oppression, violence and discrimination when they arise. It requires the unfolding of a positive struggle for positive rights, which accords with the specificity of the national minority question. It encompasses the full equality of the right to free national development as a right of the nationality as a whole, not just the democratic rights of the individual members of that nationality. The fight for free national development is for the positive right to national identity, not just for freedom from persecution.

99. While some progress towards freedom of national minorities can be achieved through struggle, even under imperialism, free national development can only come about in as a result of revolution.

100. We thus support the existence of independent black organisations. Even after the Party has been formed, and even under socialism, it will be necessary for independent black organisations to exist.


101. Internationalism is a key question for revolutionaries. Departure from this has always been linked with degeneration.

102. It is of especially great significance for revolutionaries in imperialist countries to support anti-imperialist struggles, particularly those of peoples oppressed by their own nation.

103. This support should be unconditional. This signifies the following:

* We should not pick and choose movements or trends according to what is acceptable to us.
* We recognise the right of oppressed nations to determine the appropriate means of their struggle, including the armed struggle, or where appropriate negotiations with the enemy.
* We cannot say we support the struggle of ’the people’ without also supporting the organisations to which that struggle necessarily gives rise.
* We do not pose conditions as to whether the orientation of particular movements is explicitly socialist or not.

104. Unconditional support in no way implies that we should not study conditions in the oppressed nations independently. In many cases there are several different trends, and we should critically assess differences in line, within an overall context of clearly siding with the oppressed against the imperialist aggressors.

105. It is important to take account of the kind of solidarity work which the oppressed nations want, and not view it purely as a tool in the process of party-building in this country. In particular it is essential to avoid an approach which uses solidarity work to score points off rival left organisations.

106. An increasingly important field of anti-imperialist struggle will be in a context of ’neo-colonialism’, i.e. in countries where a supposedly independent regime is subservient to imperialism. It is also essential to support just struggles on the part of nations oppressed by regimes claiming to be socialist.

107. Solidarity with communist parties within the liberation movements is an important aspect of proletarian internationalism.


108. The Irish people are one nation. The forced division of the country by British Imperialism in 1921 did not alter this. There is no historical basis for a separate nation in the north of Ireland.

109. As a nation the Irish have the basic democratic right to determine their own future, free from outside interference. This basic democratic right has been denied by successive invasions and occupations by English forces for over 800 years.

110. Ireland’s English problem began in 1169 when Henry II’s army invaded Ireland. Subsequent invasions occurred during Tudor times. The Cromwellian and William of Orange subjugation of Ireland were to follow. Every time English subjugation of Ireland ran into a crisis, the English answer was to re-invade.

111. At no time did the Irish accept English domination. English brutality was met with resistance. The social forces in Ireland leading the resistance varied but resistance was constant. Those earlier invasions laid the basis for Ireland becoming a full colony of the British Empire.

112. A succession of Irish organisations and leaders opposed the British presence. The United Irishmen and Fenians laid the basis for the Easter Rising of 1916 which was suppressed by the might of the British army. The Irish were not beaten, and in the 1918 election voted for independence. Once again the British answer was the vicious Black and Tan war which led to the forced partition of Ireland. The struggle continued with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Again Britain’s answer was a long period of violent and brutal aggression, including the murdering of 14 unarmed peaceful demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

113. By then the Republican movement had reorganised and could not be defeated. The 1981 Hunger Strike exposed the true nature of Britain’s role in Ireland to the world. Nothing the British state can do – whether it is internment without trial, Diplock no-jury courts, super-grasses or shoot-to-kill policies – can suppress the Irish people’s struggle for freedom. All the deaths, bombings etc. that occur are the responsibility of British occupation of Ireland. The British state is the real terrorist.

114. Britain occupies the North-East six counties of Ireland as a direct colony. The rest of Ireland (the 26 counties) is dominated by various imperialist countries to varying degrees, but because of the imposed artificial border British imperialism is the main oppressor, making the 26 counties a neo-colony of Britain.

115. It is from this standpoint that we judge the main issues and political organisations in Ireland.

116. Based in the oppressor nation the only correct position for an English political organisation has to be the unconditional support for those in Ireland leading the struggle to rid Ireland of domination by British imperialism.

117. Our analysis of Ireland is that the central issue is one of an unfinished national liberation struggle. That national liberation struggle is part of the world struggle (led by the Third World’s people) to defeat all forms of imperialism.

118. Our support goes to those whose political programme is aimed at reuniting Ireland as a country free from foreign domination in which the Irish people as a whole are free to decide their own future, a programme that advocates the Irish people determining the means for their own liberation free from British limits and conditions. We identify that political movement as being the Republican Movement.

119. It is our duty to defend the right of the Irish people to choose their own leadership, organisations and forms of struggle as they see fit in order to achieve their national liberation.

120. Similarly it follows that our involvement in solidarity work in Britain, in support of the Irish struggle must be guided by the priorities set by those leading the Irish national liberation struggle and their supporters within the Irish national minority organisations within Britain. It is correct for the RCL to be overt in our unconditional support for the Republican movement, while in our practical solidarity work our emphasis must be on building as broad a movement as possible to oppose British involvement in Ireland. We must be prepared to work with those who for whatever reason and to whatever degree oppose British oppression.

121. Part of that solidarity work in Britain must be to uphold the right of Irish people to set up their own independent organisations as a national minority within Britain and to oppose anti-Irish racism by the English majority nationality.


122. Women fighting for liberation from their gender oppression demand a radical restructuring of society from the bottom up and their fight is a strong and vital part of the revolutionary struggle.

123. Women are oppressed by men economically, politically, socially, physically and sexually, both by direct means and by means of ideology. Women’s oppression affects women of all classes and all nationalities. Men gain real advantages from the oppression of women.

124. This oppression by men exists in the context of a world dominated by imperialism which supports and benefits from that oppression. The RCL was wrong in the past to criticise the women’s movement as being ’bourgeois feminist’ and therefore reactionary. We support women fighting against their oppression. We support the necessity and the right of women to organise separately as women. Women struggling for their liberation in this country must do so in solidarity with national minority women and their organisations in this country and with Third World women worldwide.

125. Women’s oppression pre-dates capitalism. There is evidence that it pre-dates other forms of class oppression and national oppression.

126. In very early human history there was a division of labour between the sexes but the relationship was not one of dominance, violence or subordination. To reconstruct the history of how this changed is a task of the women’s struggle, because the study of history and anthropology has been dominated by men with a white imperialist male outlook. This has not only made women invisible but has resulted in a false view of society.

127. Today, women are subject to sexual and physical abuse by men which ranges from derogatory innuendo through to rape and murder. This happens in the home, at work and in more organised and profit-making forms through pornography, prostitution and advertising. This severely restricts and intimidates women and destroys their power, self-esteem and sexuality.

128. Women are born into this reality and in addition are educated from the day of their birth to take subordinate and submissive roles. Girls and women who reject this orientation are treated by society as mentally ill, deviants or criminals. Women are denied access and recognition in cultural, creative and artistic fields. In many third world countries women are denied education. In this country the education system still discriminates against girls. Religion has played a major historical role in institutionalising women’s oppression. All the major world religions are oppressive to women.

129. This oppressive gender division prevents women from achieving their potential, and male gender roles are also dehumanising and restricting to men.

130. As well as alienating women from their own sexuality, male dominated institutions continue to attempt to control women’s fertility, and deny women the right to choose whether or not to have a child. Women’s struggle for reproductive rights, which has gone on through the ages throughout the world, is a basic and vital part of their emancipation.

131. Homosexual people of both sexes are subject to particular discrimination and harassments. We support the right of all individuals to determine their sexuality and demand an end to all laws discriminating against sexual orientation.

132. Women worldwide take part in both paid work and domestic or subsistence work, and in addition poverty forces many women to sell their sexual services in the form of prostitution.

133. Domestic labour has been largely ignored by Marxist-Leninists in their analysis of the capitalist system. It is labour which partly lies outside the sphere of capitalist commodity production, in the same way that subsistence agriculture does in the Third World, but the capitalist system relies on it for the cheap reproduction of labour. Women’s unpaid labour in the home is fundamental to capitalism which could not afford to pay for the work women do.

134. Women should have the right to go out to work on equal terms with men, but at present suffer discrimination both in earnings and job opportunities, and in terms of shouldering the burden of domestic and family responsibility.

135. The pattern of women’s paid work in this country has varied to suit the needs of capitalism and imperialism at different times. The concept of ’family wage’, which originated in the early nineteenth century with the collusion of capitalists and male dominated trade unions, has been a powerful force in discriminating against women at work. More recently British imperialism in recession has required a more ’flexible’ labour with lack of security, rights or benefits.

136. Trade unions are a product of a male dominated society and as such do not often serve the interests of women (except when there were women-only unions). Recent improvements in some unions reflect the struggle of women within them, as well as their need to recruit women members.

137. In this and other countries women are prevented from going out to work on equal terms with men by the necessity to care for small children and elderly and disabled relatives. In addition the vast majority of household tasks and family responsibilities are carried out by the woman in the family, whether or not she also takes part in paid work. In this way many women shoulder a double burden of work.

138. There is no reason why men should not share equally in these responsibilities. We demand state-subsidised child care and state funded community support – now, under capitalism – for all families who need them. Men must change their ideology and their behaviour regarding sharing domestic work and caring for their children and relatives.

139. The nuclear family developed as an economic unit under capitalism based on the unpaid labour of women in reproducing and maintaining the labour force. It is a structure that meets the needs of imperialism, and is built on the isolation, oppression and exploitation of women, and on violence towards them.

140. The main aspect of the family here for women is one of oppression. However the family does to some extent offer women support and shelter from class and racist oppression and this is especially true in extended families. But many women in extended families are subjected to severe sexist oppression.

141. At a time when women in this country were being forced into the family, women in the colonies were having their families destroyed. In the third world the family is often a source of resistance. Third World families which are forcibly separated by imperialism fight to be reunited or to stay together.

142. Women’s oppression, national oppression and class oppression each have their own specific characteristics which distinguish them from one another. Within any particular mode of production and culture they will interact in different ways.

143. Under imperialism the three forms of oppression reinforce each other. The vast majority of women have an interest in overthrowing imperialism in order to rid themselves of class and/or national oppression. To take a position which only considers women’s oppression and ignores class and national oppression is irrelevant to the daily situation that most women are in.

144. In practice the struggle against these three forms of oppression is interlinked. In a revolutionary context (i.e. in the struggle to overthrow the present system and build a new society) each struggle influences the other and reinforces it so that the whole is greater than the parts. However the struggle for socialism will not necessarily bring about liberation for women. At every stage sexism and male chauvinism must be challenged. We do not want the kind of socialism which concentrates power in the hands of working class men and allows them to continue to oppress women. There must be a fundamental change in men’s ideology and behaviour, which must begin now. A fundamental redistribution of wealth between men and women is also necessary.

145. While struggles against the three forms of oppression are linked, the specific characteristics of each will inevitably lead at times to conflict between them and we must learn from the experience of past attempts at socialism and not allow the women’s struggle to be subordinated to the demands of class and national struggle. On the contrary it is necessary that women not only lead the struggle against gender oppression but take the lead in the whole revolutionary struggle. The definition of socialism has to be significantly revised and strengthened in order for it to meet the needs and aspirations of women.


146. The profit motive is incompatible with safeguarding the world’s resources. So long as it is profitable, environmental destruction is perfectly ’logical’ under capitalism. Humanity’s problem is not limited resources but the waste of resources which is an essential part of the process of capital accumulation.

147. Both sides of the coin of unequal development give rise to ecological disaster. In the Third World there is destruction of indigenous people and their sustainable ways of life; hijacking of fertile land for cash cropping and clearance of forest for cattle ranching; and the impoverishment of the Third World and the so-called debt which forces governments to exploit their resources dangerously for short term gain. In the rich imperialist heartlands of Europe and the USA technology is out of control, producing a crisis in energy production, in accumulation of wastes and chemicals and in the dangers of nuclear pollution.

148. The Green movement in the West has been valuable in highlighting and researching many of these specific problems. The movement is diverse. While those Green parties working within parliamentary confines are partially integrated into the system, there are many groupings which rely on their own strengths and local or international mass action. Links have been made by some of these groups with indigenous or Third World people and they are advancing the view that sustainable life systems living in harmony with nature are a real alternative to the exploitative system. This trend is positive in relation to imperialism.

149. To save the environment in any global way alliances must be built with Third World people on an anti-imperialist basis. For example the anti-nuclear alliance against US, British and French nuclear tests in the Nevada desert and Tahiti, which is an alliance between native peoples and many groups in the USA, Britain and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

150. Within rural areas of most of the world it is women, as providers and carers, who are totally dependent upon the renewability of natural systems to provide for their basic needs of food, water and shelter. The environment is not just a backdrop to their activities, but impinges on all aspects of their lives. In many areas of the world, especially in Africa, women are the main environmental managers. Women are therefore not only victims of the environmental crisis but are the major agents of rehabilitation, a role stunted by many aspects of their oppression and by Western ’aid’.

151. It is not surprising therefore that women have taken a leading role in the Green movement, in all parts of the world, and in the anti-nuclear movement. Women have brought new strengths to these groups, fostering a co-operative and open style of work.

152. This does not mean that all problems will end with socialism. Indeed aspects of socialist theory which sees the world as a man made world and socialist practice which equated progress with increased production as a central goal, all resulted in environmental damage. But socialism will provide the opportunity for a society planned for the majority rather than for profit, a society where there will be free national development, and where women’s strengths in environmental issues will be able to flourish. By taking environmental issues seriously in the period of struggle for socialism and fostering alliances we can realistically plan to build a society in tune with land and nature.


153. Capitalism has restructured over the recent period by bringing in new technology and new management practices. This was facilitated by a massive transfer of wealth from the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America, unprecedented even in the colonial period. This transfer of value included repayments on the so-called Third World debt. The RCL considers that there is no such debt. The million million dollars the oppressed nations are supposed to ’owe’ could be no more than a minute fraction of what they are entitled to demand as reparations for centuries of plunder.

154. The new economic structure places less emphasis on traditional manufacturing industries. But in Britain de-industrialisation has been far more pronounced than in other capitalist countries, and British capitalism is becoming more and more essentially parasitic, linked to financial speculation via the City of London. Furious battles linked to takeover bids result in companies being dismembered for purely speculative reasons, without any concern for industrial potential, let alone for the workforce. This stage in the development of the structure of the domestic economy is inseparable from the world context of parasitism on the Third World.

155. The new technology enables the process of production increasingly to be divided up at a world level between different partial processes in different countries under the overall co-ordination and control of the big imperialist companies, whose dominance is increased by their monopoly over the technology itself. Thus they can bring together within the same productive process on the one hand a central, ultra modern sector characterised by computer control and robotics where the workforce is very small, and on the other hand a peripheral sector of people who are exploited – both in the Third World and in the metropolitan countries themselves – under conditions which hark back to the early days of capitalism, such as the ’putting-out’ system.

156. This has had the conscious effect of undermining the workplace as the hub of capitalist production and defusing the struggles at this level which have previously been the main focus of class conflict.

157. However this has led to the emergence of new forms of struggle among elements which have in fact always been struggling but have been neglected or marginalised by the official labour movement. The RCL believes that the struggle to organise these classes of workers, who are particularly women and national minority people, over issues such as home working will be one of the critical fronts in the struggle between labour and capital in the coming period.


158. The principal contradiction in the world, which determines the nature of all other secondary contradictions, is that between western imperialism and Japan on the one hand, and the oppressed peoples and nations on the other.

159. The main enemy of the people of the world is US imperialism, which plays the role of military and political headquarters in the imperialist camp, organised through NATO, the Group of Seven, the IMF and the World Bank.

160. The US is now the only state with the economic, political and military power of a superpower. The struggle for world domination is characterised by the conflict between three blocs, namely, the USA, the European Community and Japan. These are contradictions between rival groups of imperialist robbers, and progressive people have no interest in supporting one or the other. At present these inter-imperialist conflicts stop short at anything which could call into question their collective exploitation of the oppressed nations.

161. The power-centres of imperialism are the transnational corporations and the financial interests which control them.

162. The spread of investment across national boundaries has reached a point where industrial activities can be organised on a global scale, and production moved anywhere labour is cheap. The corporations and financial centres owe no loyalty even to the people of the industrial countries, and will devastate or peripheralise whole regions and sections of the population, even within the industrial nations themselves.

163. They will still always work to ensure the collective dominance of the industrial countries over the third world. They are based in the imperialist heartlands, and will always use their overall organisation of the productive system and their monopoly of technology to ensure that the oppressed nations cannot develop an independent economy along capitalist lines.

164. If the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America were to develop an independent capitalism this would be progressive in weakening the dominance of the big imperialist powers, but it is practically impossible to do so. The ruling class in most of these countries essentially serves as in intermediary in the exploitation of their countries by imperialism. The basis of their status is a portion of the vast super-profits of imperialism. Hence they cannot lead a movement which in any way seriously challenges imperialism.

165. In the long term, it is in the interests of the vast majority of oppressed peoples and exploited classes, including those in the imperialist countries themselves, to overthrow imperialism.

166. The oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America are in the forefront of the movement against imperialism. The sharpest struggles are taking place in these countries in the form of struggles for workers’ rights; control over the land; a sound orientation of the national economy towards people’s needs; women’s rights; the defence of national culture and language; the defence of the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples.

167. The main revolutionary force in the world is the liberation movements which bring together these particular currents of struggle into one single strand. In world terms, revolutionary struggle in the industrial countries playa secondary role in relation to this leading force. But the most important contribution we can make to assisting the liberation movements is to carry out the struggle for socialism, and thereby weaken imperialism.


168. European unity has to be seen in the context of the overall development of imperialism. It is essentially a form of solidarity against imperialist rivals, and in particular against the oppressed nations. It is also an expression of the transnationalisation of capital.

169. The lessening of narrow rivalries between European states would be positive in breaking down British chauvinism. However, the main feature of the common European ’identity’ is a heightening of racism against those excluded from that identity.

170. The EEC represents concentration and growth of monopoly within Europe and increased ability of capital to exploit the working people of Europe. Resources are concentrated in a central area of Europe, including a small part of Britain, but in the rest of Europe regional inequalities are growing. The response to this has included the growth of nationalism.

171. All over Europe there has been an upsurge in racism against black people and national minorities, and this trend is accentuated still further by the absorption of the former Soviet bloc where right-wing nationalism is rampant.

172. State racism and institutional racism are the primary forms of racism. Fascist organisations represent the ’unacceptable face’ of what the state is doing anyway. But they also represent the ’thin end of the wedge’ to test out what the system can get away with, so they are an important target of the struggle.

173. The problem of racism is the main aspect of the struggle against the reactionary trend in Europe in the coming period. Something positive will come out of European unity only insofar as the left can unite on an international basis in the struggle against racism and for the safeguarding of working class and democratic rights in opposition to transnationalised capitalism.

174. In opposing reactionary aspects of the European Community, we recognise that if Britain stays out it means a closer alliance with US imperialism, rather than an independent Britain.


175. In this country rich and poor are growing further apart. Regional inequalities are also widening. Large areas of the country are derelict, a significant proportion of the population are impoverished, and the system shows no interest in them apart from repression. Exploitation of women has increased, and there has been a general fall in living standards.

176. While oppression is mounting, the class struggle is lacking focus. The Labour Party no longer provides the pretence of an alternative and conventional centres of working class power, including the unions, have indeed been weakened.

177. But there has always been another arena of struggle focussed on resistance to the more intense exploitation of national minorities and women. The labour movement simply connived with the system in ignoring it.

178. What is needed is to build a revolutionary organisation with a different, stronger conception of class consciousness, by which we mean breaking with the white male definition of class struggle which has prevailed so far and really liberating ourselves from the collaborationism involved in marginalising those most exploited.

179. Our vision is of a party which does not claim a monopoly of correct ideas but which brings together all the correct initiatives which exist in society and builds them into a coherent whole.

180. Such a party is indispensable as an organisational core for the class struggle. Major tasks in the coming period will be to combat the racist current in Europe, struggle to defend the living standards and democratic rights of the working class, build unity between the class struggle and women’s and national struggles and build solidarity with liberation movements in other countries against imperialism. The long-term task is to abolish capitalism and bring about a socialist society as the first step towards communism. We must be under no illusion about the difficulty of overthrowing capitalism. The ruling class will not give up its position easily. When threatened it will use all the might of its oppressive state apparatus in order to maintain its rule. It would be wrong to think that capitalism could be simply voted out of existence.

181. Worldwide, an upsurge of socialism is bound to come. It is more and more apparent that profit is an absurd principle by which to organise the world’s resources. Capitalism can no longer maintain the pretence of realising ’development’ in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and IMF diktats have robbed these countries of even a semblance of sovereignty. With the ending of the cold war, imperialism has lost even the thinnest smokescreen to hide its blatant aggression. The masses in the oppressed nations have no choice but to struggle, and they are certain to launch a new wave of human progress.

182. The socialist society of the future will draw its strength from the new organisational forms thrown up in this mass movement, and will learn from the experience of past attempts at socialism, positive and negative. Increasingly, revolutionaries will see that the struggle against women’s oppression is as vital and as fundamental as any other struggle and that socialist society must really be shaped by women’s initiatives and not just use them as window-dressing. The contribution of minority nationalities must be given a key place, in particular the rich experience of indigenous peoples in developing human society in harmony with the natural world. Democracy is not something invented by the bourgeoisie, its roots go back to the earliest struggles of working people against structures of class, national and gender oppression. The new society of the future will carry this to fruition.

183. This is an exciting but complex project. It can only be realised by pooling the ideas and concrete experiences of revolutionaries the world over. A particularly urgent task in the coming period is to build links between forces committed to socialism, to share experience and support one another.

184. Forward to victory against imperialism, to lay the foundations for a new society!