J. V. Stalin

Don't Forget the East

November 24, 1918

Source : Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1953
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2009
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

At a time when the revolutionary movement is rising in Europe, when old thrones and crowns are tumbling and giving place to revolutionary Soviets of Workers and Soldiers, and the occupied regions are ejecting the creatures of imperialism from their territories, the eyes of all are naturally turned to the West. It is there, in the West, that the chains of imperialism, which were forged in Europe and which are strangling the whole world, must first of all be smashed. It is there, first of all in the West, that the new, socialist life must vigorously develop. At such a moment one "involuntarily" tends to lose sight of, to forget the far-off East, with its hundreds of millions of inhabitants enslaved by imperialism.

Yet the East should not be forgotten for a single moment, if only because it represents the "inexhaustible" reserve and "most reliable" rear of world imperialism .

The imperialists have always looked upon the East as the basis of their prosperity. Have not the inestimable natural resources (cotton, oil, gold, coal, ores) of the East been an "apple of discord" between the imperialists of all countries? That, in fact, explains why, while fighting in Europe and prating about the West, the imperialists have never ceased to think of China, India, Persia, Egypt and Morocco, because the East was always the real point at issue. It is this that chiefly explains why they so zealously maintain "law and order" in the countries of the East—without this, imperialism's far rear would not be secure.

But it is not only the wealth of the East that the imperialists need. They also need the "obedient" "man power" which abounds in the colonies and semi-colonies of the East. They need the "compliant" and cheap "labour power" of the Eastern peoples. They need, furthermore, the "obedient" "young lads" of the countries of the East from whom they recruit the so-called "coloured" troops which they will not hesitate to hurl against "their own" revolutionary workers. That is why they call the Eastern countries their "inexhaustible" reserve.

It is the task of communism to break the age-long sleep of the oppressed peoples of the East, to infect the workers and peasants of these countries with the emancipatory spirit of revolution, to rouse them to fight imperialism, and thus deprive world imperialism of its "most reliable" rear and "inexhaustible" reserve.

Without this, the definite triumph of socialism, complete victory over imperialism, is unthinkable.

The revolution in Russia was the first to rouse the oppressed peoples of the East to fight imperialism. The Soviets in Persia, India and China are a clear symptom that the age-long sleep of the workers and peasants of the East is becoming a thing of the past.

Revolution in the West will undoubtedly give a new spur to the revolutionary movement in the East, will infuse it with courage and faith in victory.

And no little help in revolutionizing the East will be rendered by the imperialists themselves, with their new annexations, which are drawing new countries into the fight against imperialism and extending the base of world revolution.

It is the duty of the Communists to intervene in the growing spontaneous movement in the East and to develop it further, into a conscious struggle against imperialism.

From that standpoint, the resolution of the recent Conference of Moslem Communists, 1 calling for more intense propaganda in the East—in Persia, India and China—is undoubtedly of profound revolutionary significance.

Let us hope that our Moslem comrades will carry out-their highly important decision.

For the truth must be grasped once and for all that whoever desires the triumph of socialism must not forget the East.

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 3,

November 24, 1918



1.The reference is to the First Congress of Moslem Communists held in Moscow in November 1918. It elected a Central Bureau of Moslem Organizations of the R.C.P.(B.).