Ours is the era of proletarian revolutions and revolutions of national liberation, the era in which socialism is advancing towards worldwide victory and imperialism is heading for its doom.
Since World War II, the revolutionary struggle of the people of the world has entered a new stage. The rapid growth of the people’s revolutionary forces and the rapid decline of the counter-revolutionary forces are general trends in the postwar world situation.
After World War I, there was only one socialist state in the world. But today, socialism has won victory in a number of countries, which form the socialist camp. The socialist countries which uphold Marxism-Leninism constitute a powerful bulwark for the acceleration of the world revolution.
After World War I, only tsarist Russia and its colonies were liberated, while imperialism continued to maintain its colonial system in wide areas of the world. But today, the oppressed nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America have set ablaze the raging fire of anti-imperialist struggle. The long night of centuries of colonial rule is coming to an end, and the colonial system of imperialism is in the process of rapid collapse.
After World War I, the capitalist system enjoyed a short period of relative stability. Since World War II there has been no such relative stability. The forces of imperialism have been greatly weakened. U.S. imperialism, the main prop of the imperialist system, is also in a state of general decline. The general crisis of capitalism has greatly deepened.
The international balance of class forces is very favourable to the socialist countries and the revolutionary people of the world and very unfavourable to imperialism and all the reactionaries. The international balance between the forces of revolution and of counter-revolution has changed, but not one of the basic contradictions of the contemporary world-the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries, the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism, and the contradictions among the imperialist countries and among the monopoly capitalist groups-has disappeared. These basic contradictions are all objective realities and they are becoming increasingly acute.
Since World War II, U.S. imperialism has stepped into the shoes of German, Italian and Japanese fascism and become the chief enemy of the people of the world. Throughout the postwar period, repeated and intense struggles have been going on between the people of the world on the one side and U.S. imperialism and its lackeys on the other. The vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America are the main battlefields of these struggles.
Taking the world situation as a whole, the contradiction between the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the imperialists headed by the United States is the most prominent and most acute of all the basic- contradictions and is the principal contradiction in the contemporary world.
Since World War II, tremendous revolutionary storms have risen in the vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The victory of the Chinese revolution, the victory of the Korean and Vietnamese revolutions, of the Korean people’s war against U.S. aggression, of the Cuban revolution, of the Algerian war of national liberation and of the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the Indonesian people as well as the successive great victories of the national-liberation struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America have all dealt heavy blows at the imperialists headed by the United States and greatly changed the face of these vast areas.
Today, the national-democratic revolutionary movement is continuing to surge forward in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In Indo-China, the Congo (Leopoldville), the Dominican Republic and other vast areas in Asia, Africa and Latin America, fierce hand-to-hand struggles, including armed struggles, are going on between the oppressed nations and imperialism The strategic rear areas of the imperialists have become the front lines of fiery struggles.
Asia, Africa and Latin America are the lifeline on which imperialism depends for the maintenance of its rule, and they are the areas where imperialist rule is most vulnerable. A revolutionary situation exists in these vast areas today. The national-democratic revolutionary movement in these areas is the most important force directly hitting imperialism. This is an objective fact. It can neither be invented nor gainsaid.
The people of Asia, Africa and Latin America will always be thankful for the influence and impact of the advanced proletariat of the West, for the inspiration and assistance of the Great October Socialist Revolution and for the enlightenment and guidance of the founders of Marxism-Leninism.
The historical development of different countries is uneven, and so is the development of their revolutionary movements. While the proletariat in Western Europe and North America is experiencing a new awakening, for various reasons the situation there is not yet ripe for revolution; on the other hand, the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America are holding high the torch of revolution and marching forward.
As Lenin pointed out, the centre of the growing European working-class movement switched from Britain to France, which was comparatively backward economically, then from France to Germany, which was likewise comparatively backward economically, and then from Germany to Russia, which was again comparatively backward economically. The comparative economic backwardness of Asia, Africa and Latin America today does not prevent the people in these regions from becoming new shock brigades of the world revolution, and in fact they have already done so.
The national-democratic revolution in Asia, Africa and Latin America is an important component part of the contemporary proletarian world revolution. It has shaken the imperialists’ strategic rear areas, weakened their rule in their own countries, and promoted and supported the revolution of the proletariat and other working people within these countries.
The anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the oppressed nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America has hit at and weakened the imperialist forces of aggression and war. This revolutionary struggle gives support both to the struggles of the proletariat of the countries in Western Europe, North America and Oceania which has not yet won victory and to those of the already victorious states of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
As Comrade Aidit has said,
On a world scale, Asia, Africa and Latin America are the village of the world, while Europe and North America are the town of the world. If the world revolution is to be victorious, there is no other way than for the world proletariat to give prominence to the revolutions in Asia, Africa and Latin America, that is to say, the revolutions in the village of the world.1
The development and resolution of the contradiction between the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the imperialists headed by the United States have a vital bearing not only on the future of the people of these areas but also on the future of the people of the whole world. This is not a regional question but a question of an overall character in the contemporary world. Its development and resolution are of key importance in promoting the development and resolution of the other basic contradictions.
Asia, Africa and Latin America are the areas in which the various contradictions of the contemporary world are focused. Fierce struggles are going on in these areas between the oppressed nations and peoples on the one hand and imperialism and its lackeys on the other. The contradictions between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie on an international scale, between the socialist countries and the imperialist countries and between the Marxist-Leninists and the modern revisionists all find acute expression in these areas. And so do the contradictions among the imperialist countries.
The inexorable facts since World War II and what is now taking place all go to show that the contradiction between the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the imperialists headed by the United States is the principal contradiction in the contemporary world.
It is essential for Marxist-Leninists to single out this principal contradiction from among the intricate contradictions of the contemporary world and grasp it firmly. Only by so doing can one correctly discern and determine the principal enemy and the principal target of attack in the world today, decide which forces to rely on and which to unite with, and formulate the correct strategy and tactics
Both the socialist countries which persevere in the Marxist-Leninist line and the proletariat of Western Europe, North America and Oceania who unswervingly follow a revolutionary path regard it as their most important internationalist duty to give resolute support to the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America in their revolutionary struggle against imperialism. The attitude one takes on this question constitutes the most important criterion for distinguishing between Marxist-Leninists and modern revisionists, between revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries and between real revolutionaries and sham revolutionaries.
The Khrushchov revisionists strenuously deny the great international significance of the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America. They assert that Asia, Africa and Latin America “are not the focus of contradictions”, “are not and cannot be the centre of contemporary contradictions” and cannot possibly be the storm centres of world revolution in our age. They accuse anyone who asserts the contrary of “substituting geographical principle for a class analysis of the revolutionary forces” and denounce him as a “nationalist”, a “racist”, or an adherent of the “colour” and “geographical” principles.
In the opinion of the Khrushchov revisionists, it is only Europe and North America that can be the centres of the world, whose inner “centres” are the two major powers, the United States and the Soviet Union.
Taking over the racial superiority complex of the European and American bourgeoisie and the imperialists, the Khrushchov revisionists shout in tune with the imperialists about “coloured people opposing white people”, as soon as they see the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America rising against the imperialists headed by the United States. There is not an iota of Marxism-Leninism in this view, which is a betrayal of the socialist countries and the revolutionary cause of the proletariat in the West. It is the propagators of this view who are actually putting themselves in the same boat as the nationalists, racists, or adherents of the “colour” and “geographical” principles.
The Khrushchov revisionists accuse us of belittling the role of the working-class movement in the developed capitalist countries and setting the national-liberation movement against the international working-class movement. In fact, it is they themselves who set the national-liberation movement against the international working-class movement. They have completely abandoned the Leninist theory concerning the national-liberation movement.
Since the October Revolution, the national liberation movement has ceased to belong to the category of the bourgeois world revolution, but belongs to that of the proletarian world revolution, of which it forms a part. Lenin said,
. . . the socialist revolution will not be solely, or chiefly, a struggle of the revolutionary proletarians in each country against their bourgeoisie-no, it will be a struggle of all the imperialism-oppressed colonies and countries, of all dependent countries against international imperialism.2
He also said that the proletariat in the imperialist countries “will not be victorious without the aid of the toiling masses of all the oppressed colonial peoples, and primarily of the Eastern peoples".3
The Khrushchov revisionists’ purpose in spreading their views is simply to disintegrate and suppress the revolutionary movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America, to oppose and hinder the extension of firm support by socialist countries and the international proletariat to the revolutionary movement in these areas and to serve imperialism, and especially U.S. imperialism, in promoting neo-colonialism.
1. D. N. Aidit, Set Afire the “Banteng” Spirit! Ever Forward, No Retreat! Eng. ed., Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1964, p. 87.
2. V. I. Lenin, “Address to the Second All Russian Congress of Communist Organizations of the Peoples of the East”, On the International Working-Class and Communist Movement, Eng. ed., Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, p. 335.
3. Ibid., p. 338.
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