Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
October 22, 1963
[SOURCE: by the Editorial Departments of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) and Hongqi (Red Flag), Foreign Languages Press, Peking 1963]
A GREAT revolutionary storm has spread through Asia, Africa and Latin America since World War II. Independence has been proclaimed in more than fifty Asian and African countries. China, Viet Nam, Korea and Cuba have taken the road of socialism. The face of Asia, Africa and Latin America has undergone a tremendous change.
While revolution in the colonies and semi-colonies suffered serious setbacks after World War I owing to suppression by the imperialists and their lackeys, the situation after World War II is fundamentally different. The imperialists are no longer able to extinguish the prairie fire of national liberation. Their old colonial system is fast disintegrating. Their rear has become a front of raging anti-imperialist struggles. Imperialist rule has been overthrown in some colonial and dependent countries, and in others it has suffered heavy blows and is tottering. This inevitably weakens and shakes the rule of imperialism in the metropolitan countries.
The victories of the people’s revolutions in Asia, Africa and Latin America, together with the rise of the socialist camp, sound a triumphant paean to our day and age.
The storm of the people’s revolution in Asia, Africa and Latin America requires every political force in the world to take a stand. This mighty revolutionary storm makes the imperialists and colonialists tremble and the revolutionary people of the world rejoice. The imperialists and colonialists say, “Terrible, terrible!” The revolutionary people say, “Fine, fine!” The imperialists and colonialists say, “It is rebellion, which is forbidden.” The revolutionary people say, “It is revolution, which is the people’s right and an inexorable current of history.”
An important line of demarcation between the Marxist-Leninists and the modern revisionists is the attitude taken towards this extremely sharp issue of contemporary world politics. The Marxist-Leninists firmly side with the oppressed nations and actively support the national liberation movement. The modern revisionists in fact side with the imperialists and colonialists and repudiate and oppose the national liberation movement in every possible way.
In their words, the leaders of the CPSU dare not completely discard the slogans of support for the national liberation movement, and at times, for the sake of their own interests, they even take certain measures which create the appearance of support. But if we probe to the essence and consider their views and policies over a number of years, we see clearly that their attitude towards the liberation struggles of the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America is a passive or scornful or negative one, and that they serve as apologists for neo-colonialism.
In the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU of July 14, 1963 and in a number of articles and statements, the comrades of the CPSU have worked hard at defending their wrong views and attacking the Chinese Communist Party on the question of the national liberation movement. But the sole outcome is to confirm the anti-Marxist-Leninist and anti-revolutionary stand of the leaders of the CPSU on the subject.
Let us now look at the theory and practice of the leaders of the CPSU on the question of the national liberation movement.
Victories of great historic significance have already been won by the national liberation movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This no one can deny. But can anyone assert that the task of combating imperialism and colonialism and their agents has been completed by the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America?
Our answer is, no. This fighting task is far from completed.
However, the leaders of the CPSU frequently spread the view that colonialism has disappeared or is disappearing from the present-day world. They emphasize that “there are fifty million people on earth still groaning under colonial rule”, that the remnants of colonialism are to be found only in such places as Portuguese Angola and Mozambique in Africa, and that the abolition of colonial rule has already entered the “final phase”.
What are the facts?
Consider, first, the situation in Asia and Africa. There a whole group of countries have declared their independence. But many of these countries have not completely shaken off imperialist and colonial control and enslavement and remain objects of imperialist plunder and aggression as well as arenas of contention between the old and new colonialists. In some, the old colonialists have changed into neo-colonialists and retain their colonial rule through their trained agents. In others, the wolf has left by the front door, but the tiger has entered through the back door, the old colonialism being replaced by the new, more powerful and more dangerous U. S. colonialism. The peoples of Asia and Africa are seriously menaced by the tentacles of neo-colonialism, represented by U. S. imperialism.
Next, listen to the voice of the people of Latin America. The Second Havana Declaration says, “Latin America today is under a more ferocious imperialism, more powerful and ruthless than the Spanish colonial empire.”
Since the end of the Second World War, . . . North American investments exceed 10 billion dollars. Latin America moreover supplies cheap raw materials and pays high prices for manufactured articles.
It says further:
. . . there flows from Latin America to the United States a constant torrent of money: some $4,000 per minute, $5 million per day, $2 billion per year, $10 billion each five years. For each thousand dollars which leaves us, one dead body remains. $1,000 per death, that is the price of what is called imperialism.
The facts are clear. After World War II the imperialists have certainly not given up colonialism, but have merely adopted a new form, neo-colonialism. An important characteristic of such neo-colonialism is that the imperialists have been forced to change their old style of direct colonial rule in some areas and to adopt a new style of colonial rule and exploitation by relying on the agents they have selected and trained. The imperialists headed by the United States enslave or control the colonial countries and countries which have already declared their independence by organizing military blocs, setting up military bases, establishing “federations” or “communities”, and fostering puppet regimes. By means of economic “aid” or other forms, they retain these countries as markets for their goods, sources of raw material and outlets for their export of capital, plunder the riches and suck the blood of the people of these countries. Moreover, they use the United Nations as an important tool for interfering in the internal affairs of such countries and for subjecting them to military, economic and cultural aggression. When they are unable to continue their rule over these countries by “peaceful” means, they engineer military coups d’etat, carry out subversion or even resort to direct armed intervention and aggression.
The United States is most energetic and cunning in promoting neo-colonialism. With this weapon, the U.S. imperialists are trying hard to grab the colonies and spheres of influence of other imperialists and to establish world domination.
This neo-colonialism is a more pernicious and sinister form of colonialism.
We would like to ask the leaders of the CPSU, under such circumstances how can it be said that the abolition of colonial rule has already entered the “final phase”?
In trying to bolster up such falsehoods, the leaders of the CPSU have the temerity to seek help from the 1960 Statement. They say, does not the 1960 Statement mention the vigorous process of disintegration of the colonial system? But this thesis about the rapid disintegration of old colonialism cannot possibly help their argument about the disappearance of colonialism. The Statement clearly points out that “the United States is the mainstay of colonialism today”, that “the imperialists, headed by the U.S.A., make desperate efforts to preserve colonial exploitation of the peoples of the former colonies by new methods and in new forms” and that they “try to retain their hold on the levers of economic control and political influence in Asian, African and Latin American countries”. In these phrases the Statement exposes just what the leadership of the CPSU is trying so hard to cover up.
The leaders of the CPSU have also created the theory that the national liberation movement has entered upon a “new stage” having economic tasks as its core. Their argument is that, whereas “formerly, the struggle was carried on mainly in the political sphere”, today the economic question has become the “central task” and “the basic link in the further development of the revolution”.
The national liberation movement has entered a new stage. But this is by no means the kind of “new stage” described by the leadership of the CPSU. In the new stage, the level of political consciousness of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples has risen higher than ever and the revolutionary movement is surging forward with unprecedented intensity. They urgently demand the thorough elimination of the forces of imperialism and its lackeys in their own countries and strive for complete political and economic independence. The primary and most urgent task facing these countries is still the further development of the struggle against imperialism, old and new colonialism, and their lackeys. This struggle is still being waged fiercely in the political, economic, military, cultural, ideological and other spheres. And the struggles in all these spheres still find their most concentrated expression in political struggle, which often unavoidably develops into armed struggle when the imperialists resort to direct or indirect armed suppression. It is important for the newly independent countries to develop their independent economy. But this task must never be separated from the struggle against imperialism, old and new colonialism, and their lackeys.
Like “the disappearance of colonialism”, this theory of a “new stage” advocated by the leaders of the CPSU is clearly intended to whitewash the aggression against and plunder of Asia, Africa and Latin America by neo-colonialism, as represented by the United States, to cover up the sharp contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations and to paralyse the revolutionary struggle of the people of these continents.
According to this theory of theirs, the fight against imperialism, old and new colonialism, and their lackeys is, of course, no longer necessary, for colonialism is disappearing and economic development has become the central task of the national liberation movement. Does it not follow that the national liberation movement can be done away with altogether? Therefore, the kind of “new stage” described by the leaders of the CPSU, in which economic tasks are in the centre of the picture, is clearly nothing but one of no opposition to imperialism, old and new colonialism, and their lackeys, a stage in which the national liberation movement is no longer desired.
In line with their erroneous theories the leaders of the CPSU have sedulously worked out a number of nostrums for all the ills of the oppressed nations. Let us examine them.
The first prescription is labelled peaceful coexistence and peaceful competition.
The leaders of the CPSU constantly attribute the great post-war victories of the national liberation movement won by the Asian, African and Latin American peoples to what they call “peaceful coexistence” and “peaceful competition”. The Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU says:
In conditions of peaceful coexistence, new important victories have been scored in recent years in the class struggle of the proletariat and in the struggle of the peoples for national freedom. The world revolutionary process is developing successfully.
They also say that the national liberation movement is developing under conditions of peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems and of economic competition between the two opposing social systems and that peaceful coexistence and peaceful competition “assist the unfolding of a process of liberation on the part of peoples fighting to free themselves from the economic domination of foreign monopolies”, and can deliver “a crushing blow” to “the entire system of capitalist relationship”.
All socialist countries should practice the Leninist policy of peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems. But peaceful coexistence and peaceful competition cannot replace the revolutionary struggles of the people. The victory of the national revolution of all colonies and dependent countries must be won primarily through the revolutionary struggle of their own masses, which can never be replaced by that of any other countries.
The leaders of the CPSU hold that the victories of the national liberation revolution are not due primarily to the revolutionary struggles of the masses, and that the people cannot emancipate themselves, but must wait for the natural collapse of imperialism through peaceful coexistence and peaceful competition. In fact, this is equivalent to telling the oppressed nations to put up with imperialist plunder and enslavement for ever, and not to rise up in resistance and revolution.
The second prescription is labelled aid to backward countries.
The leaders of the CPSU boast of the role played by their economic aid to the newly independent countries. Comrade Khrushchov has said that such aid can enable these countries “to avoid the danger of a new enslavement”, and that “it stimulates their progress and contributes to the normal development and even acceleration of those internal processes which may take these countries onto the highway leading to socialism”.
It is necessary and important for the socialist countries to give the newly independent countries economic aid on the basis of internationalism. But in no case can it be said that their national independence and social progress are due solely to the economic aid they receive from the socialist countries and not mainly to the revolutionary struggles of their own people.
To speak plainly, the policy and the purpose of the leaders of the CPSU in their aid to newly independent countries in recent years are open to suspicion. They often take an attitude of great-power chauvinism and national egoism in matters concerning aid to newly independent countries, harm the economic and political interests of the receiving countries, and as a result discredit the socialist countries. As for their aid to India, here their ulterior motives are especially clear. India tops the list of newly independent countries to which the Soviet Union gives economic aid. This aid is obviously intended to encourage the Nehru government in its policies directed against communism, against the people and against socialist countries. Even the U.S. imperialists have stated that such Soviet aid “is very much to our [U.S ] interest”.
In addition, the leaders of the CPSU openly propose co-operation with U.S. imperialism in “giving aid to the backward countries”. Khrushchov said in a speech in the United States in September 1959:
Your and our economic successes will be hailed by the whole world, which expects our two Great Powers to help the peoples who are centuries behind in their economic development to get on their feet more quickly.
Look! The mainstay of modern colonialism [namely, U.S. imperialism] will help the oppressed nations “to get on their feet more quickly”! It is indeed astonishing that the leaders of the CPSU are not only willing but even proud to be the partners of the neo-colonialists.
The third prescription is labelled disarmament. Khrushchov has said:
Disarmament means disarming the war forces, abolishing militarism, ruling out armed interference in the internal affairs of any country, and doing away completely and finally with all forms of colonialism.
He has also said:
Disarmament would create proper conditions for a tremendous increase in the scale of assistance to the newly established national states. If a mere 8-10 per cent of the 120,000 million dollars spent for military purposes throughout the world were turned to the purpose, it would be possible to end hunger, disease and illiteracy in the distressed areas of the globe within twenty years.
We have always maintained that the struggle for general disarmament should be carried on in order to expose and oppose imperialist arms expansion and war preparations. But one cannot possibly say that colonialism will be eliminated through disarmament.
Khrushchov here sounds like a preacher. Downtrodden people of the world, you are blessed! If only you are patient, if only you wait until the imperialists lay down their arms, freedom will descend upon you. Wait until the imperialists show mercy, and the poverty-stricken areas of the world will become an earthly paradise flowing with milk and honey! . . .
This is not just the fostering of illusions, it is opium for the people.
The fourth prescription is labelled elimination of colonialism through the United Nations.
Khrushchov maintains that if the United Nations takes measures to uproot the colonial system, “the peoples who are now suffering the humiliation arising out of foreign domination, would acquire a clear and immediate prospect of peaceful liberation from foreign oppression”.
In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September 1960, Khrushchov asked, “Who, if not the United Nations Organization, should champion the abolition of the colonial system of government?”
This is a strange question to ask. According to Khrushchov, the revolutionary people of Asia, Africa and Latin America should not and cannot themselves eliminate colonialism, but must look to the United Nations for help.
At the United Nations General Assembly, Khrushchov also said:
This is why we appeal to the reason and far-sightedness of the peoples of the Western countries, to their governments and their representatives at this high assembly of the United Nations. Let us agree on measures for the abolition of the colonial system of government and thereby accelerate that natural historical process.
It is apparent that what he really means by looking to the United Nations for help is looking to the imperialists for help. The facts show that the United Nations, which is still under the control of the imperialists, can only defend and strengthen the rule of colonialism but can never abolish it.
In a word, the nostrums of the leaders of the CPSU for the national liberation movement have been concocted to make people believe that the imperialists will give up colonialism and bestow freedom and liberation upon the oppressed nations and peoples and that therefore all revolutionary theories, demands and struggles are outmoded and unnecessary and should and must be abandoned.
Although they talk about supporting the movements and wars of national liberation, the leaders of the CPSU have been trying by every means to make the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America abandon their revolutionary struggle, because they themselves are sorely afraid of the revolutionary storm.
The leaders of the CPSU have the famous “theory” that “even a tiny spark can cause a world conflagration” and that a world war must necessarily be a thermonuclear war, which means the annihilation of mankind. Therefore, Khrushchov roars that “‘local wars’ in our time are very dangerous”, and that “we will work hard . . . to put out the sparks that may set off the flames of war”. Here Khrushchov makes no distinction between just and unjust wars and betrays the Communist stand of supporting just wars.
The history of the eighteen years since World War II has shown that wars of national liberation are unavoidable so long as the imperialists and their lackeys try to maintain their brutal rule by bayonets and use force to suppress the revolution of oppressed nations. These large-scale and small-scale revolutionary wars against the imperialists and their lackeys, which have never ceased, have hit hard at the imperialist forces of war, strengthened the forces defending world peace and effectively prevented the imperialists from realizing their plan of launching a world war. Frankly speaking, Khrushchov’s clamour about the need to “put out” the sparks of revolution for the sake of peace is an attempt to oppose revolution in the name of safeguarding peace.
Proceeding from these wrong views and policies, the leaders of the CPSU not only demand that the oppressed nations should abandon their revolutionary struggle for liberation and “peacefully coexist” with the imperialists and colonialists, but even side with imperialism and use a variety of methods to extinguish the sparks of revolution in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Take the example of the Algerian people’s war of national liberation. The leadership of the CPSU not only withheld support for a long period but actually took the side of French imperialism. Khrushchov used to treat Algeria’s national independence as an “internal affair” of France. Speaking on the Algerian question on — October 3, 1955, he said, “I had and have in view, first of all, that the USSR does not interfere in the internal affairs of other states.” Receiving a correspondent of Le Figaro on March 27, 1958, he said, “We do not want France to grow weaker, we want her to become still greater.”
To curry favour with the French imperialists, the leaders of the CPSU did not dare to recognize the provisional government of the Republic of Algeria for a long time; not until the victory of the Algerian people’s war of resistance against French aggression was a foregone conclusion and France was compelled to agree to Algerian independence did they hurriedly recognize Algeria. This unseemly attitude brought shame on the socialist countries. Yet the leaders of the CPSU glory in their shame and assert that the victory the Algerian people paid for with their blood should also be credited to the policy of “peaceful coexistence”.
Again, let us examine the part played by the leaders of the CPSU in the Congo question. Not only did they refuse to give active support to the Congolese people’s armed struggle against colonialism, but they were anxious to “co-operate” with U.S. imperialism in putting out the spark in the Congo.
On July 13, 1960 the Soviet Union joined with the United States in voting for the Security Council resolution on the dispatch of U.N. forces to the Congo; thus it helped the U.S. imperialists use the flag of the United Nations in their armed intervention in the Congo. The Soviet Union also provided the U.N. forces with means of transportation. In a cable to Kasavubu and Lumumba on July 15, Khrushchov said that “the United Nations Security Council has done a useful thing”. Thereafter, the Soviet press kept up a stream of praise for the United Nations for “helping the government of the Congolese Republic to defend the independence and sovereignty of the country”, and expressed the hope that the United Nations would adopt “resolute measures”. In its statements of August 21 and September 10, the Soviet Government continued to praise the United Nations, which was suppressing the Congolese people.
In 1961 the leaders of the CPSU persuaded Gizenga to attend the Congolese parliament, which had been convened under the “protection” of U.N. troops, and to join the puppet government. The leadership of the CPSU falsely alleged that the convocation of the Congolese parliament was “an important event in the life of the young republic” and “a success of the national forces”.
Clearly these wrong policies of the leadership of the CPSU rendered U. S. imperialism a great service in its aggression against the Congo. Lumumba was murdered, Gizenga was imprisoned, many other patriots were persecuted, and the Congolese struggle for national independence suffered a setback. Does the leadership of the CPSU feel no responsibility for all this?
It is only natural that the revolutionary people of Asia, Africa and Latin America have rejected the words and deeds of the leaders of the CPSU against the movements and wars of national liberation. But the leaders of the CPSU have failed to draw the appropriate lesson and change their wrong line and policies. Instead, angry at their humiliation, they have launched a series of slanderous attacks on the Chinese Communist Party and the other Marxist-Leninist parties.
The Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU accuses the Chinese Communist Party of putting forward a “new theory”. It says:
. . . according to the new theory the main contradiction of our time is, you see, contradiction not between socialism and imperialism, but between the national-liberation movement and imperialism. The decisive force in the struggle against imperialism, the Chinese comrades hold, is not the world system of socialism, not struggle of the international working class, but again the national-liberation movement.
In the first place, this is a fabrication. In our letter of June 14, we pointed out that the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world are 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 imperialist countries and among monopoly capitalist groups.
We also pointed out:
The contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp is a contradiction between two fundamentally different social systems, socialism and capitalism. It is undoubtedly very sharp. But Marxist-Leninists must not regard the contradictions in the world as consisting solely and simply of the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp.
Our view is crystal clear.
In our letter of June 14, we explained the revolutionary situation in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the significance and role of the national liberation movement. This is what we said:
1. “The various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are concentrated in the vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America; these are the most vulnerable areas under imperialist rule and the storm centres of world revolution dealing direct blows at imperialism.”
2. “The national democratic revolutionary movement in these areas and the international socialist revolutionary movement are the two great historical currents of our time.”
3. “The national democratic revolution in these areas is an important component of the contemporary proletarian world revolution.”
4. “The anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America are pounding and undermining the foundations of the rule of imperialism and colonialism, old and new, and are now a mighty force in defence of world peace.”
5. “In a sense, therefore, the whole cause of the international proletarian revolution hinges on the outcome of the revolutionary struggles of the people of these areas, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the world’s population.”
6. “Therefore, the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America is definitely not merely a matter of regional significance but is one of overall importance for the whole cause of proletarian world revolution.’”
These are Marxist-Leninist theses, conclusions drawn by scientific analysis from the realities of our time.
No one can deny that an extremely favourable revolutionary situation now exists in Asia, Africa-and Latin America. Today the national liberation revolutions in Asia, Africa and Latin America are the most important forces dealing imperialism direct blows. The contradictions of the world are concentrated in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The centre of world contradictions, of world political struggles, is not fixed but shifts with changes in the international struggles and the revolutionary situation. We believe that, with the development of the contradiction and struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in Western Europe and North America, the momentous day of battle will arrive in these homes of capitalism and heartlands of imperialism. When that day comes, Western Europe and North America will undoubtedly become the centre of world political struggles, of world contradictions.
Lenin said in 1913,
“. . . a new source of great world storms opened up in Asia ... It is in this era of storms and their ‘repercussion’ on Europe that we are now living.” (Lenin, Selected Works, International Publishers, New York, 1943, Vol. XI, p. 51.)
Stalin said in 1925:
The colonial countries constitute the principal rear of imperialism. The revolutionisation of this rear is bound to undermine imperialism not only in the sense that imperialism will be deprived of its rear, but also in the sense that the revolutionisation of the East is bound to give a powerful impulse to the intensification of the revolutionary crisis in the West. (Stalin, Works , FLPH, Moscow, 1954, Vol. VII, pp. 235-36.)
Is it possible that these statements of Lenin and Stalin are wrong? The theses they enunciated have long been elementary Marxist-Leninist knowledge. Obviously, now that the leaders of the CPSU are bent on belittling the national liberation movement, they are completely ignoring elementary Marxism-Leninism and the plain facts under their noses.
In its Open Letter of July 14, the Central Committee of the CPSU also attacks the standpoint of the Chinese Communist Party on the question of proletarian leadership in the national liberation movement. It says:
. . . the Chinese comrades want to “correct” Lenin and prove that hegemony in the world struggle against imperialism should go not to the working class, but to the petty bourgeoisie or the national bourgeoisie, even to “certain patriotically-minded kings, princes and aristocrats.”
This is a deliberate distortion of the views of the Chinese Communist Party.
In discussing the need for the proletariat to insist on leading the national liberation movement, the letter of the Central Committee of the CPC of June 14 says:
History has entrusted to the proletarian 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.
In discussing the need for establishing a broad anti-imperialist united front in the national liberation movement, the letter of the Central Committee of the CPC says:
The oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America are faced with the urgent task of fighting imperialism and its lackeys.
In these areas, extremely broad sections of the population refuse to be slaves of imperialism. They include not only the workers, peasants, intellectuals and petty bourgeoisie, but also the patriotic national bourgeoisie and even certain kings, princes and aristocrats, who are patriotic.
Our views are perfectly clear. In the national liberation movement it is necessary both to insist on leadership by the proletariat and to establish a broad anti-imperialist united front. What is wrong with these views? Why should the leadership of the CPSU distort and attack these correct views?
It is not we, but the leaders of the CPSU, who have abandoned Lenin’s views on proletarian leadership in the revolution.
The wrong line of the leaders of the CPSU completely abandons the task of fighting imperialism and colonialism and opposes wars of national liberation; this means it wants the proletariat and the Communist Parties of the oppressed nations and countries to roll up their patriotic banner of opposing imperialism and struggling for national independence and surrender it to others. In that case, how could one even talk about an anti-imperialist united front or of proletarian leadership?
Another idea often propagated by the leaders of the CPSU is that a country can build socialism under no matter what leadership, including even that of a reactionary nationalist like Nehru. This is still farther removed from the idea of proletarian leadership.
The Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU misinterprets the proper relationship of mutual support which should exist between the socialist camp and the working class movement in the capitalist countries on the one hand and the national liberation movement on the other, asserting that the national liberation movement should be “led” by the socialist countries and the working-class movement in the metropolitan countries. It has the audacity to claim that this is “based” on Lenin’s views on proletarian leadership. Obviously this is a gross distortion and revision of Lenin’s thinking. It shows that the leaders of the CPSU want to impose their line of abolishing revolution on the revolutionary movement of the oppressed nations.
In their Open Letter of July 14, the leaders of the CPSU attempt to pin on the Chinese Communist Party the charge of “isolating the national liberation movement from the international working class and its creation, the socialist world system”. They also accuse us of “separating” the national liberation movement from the socialist system and the working-class movement in the Western capitalist countries and “counterposing” the former to the latter. There are other Communists, like the leaders of the French Communist Party, who loudly echo the leaders of the CPSU.
But what are the facts? Those who counterpose the national liberation movement to the socialist camp and the working-class movement in the Western capitalist countries are none other than the leaders of the CPSU and their followers, who do not support, and even oppose, the national liberation movement.
The Chinese Communist Party has consistently maintained that the revolutionary struggles of all peoples support each other. We always consider the national liberation movement from the viewpoint of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, from the viewpoint of the proletarian world revolution as a whole. We believe the victorious development of the national liberation revolution is of tremendous significance for the socialist camp, the working-class movement in the capitalist countries and the cause of defending world peace.
But the leaders of the CPSU and their followers refuse to acknowledge this significance. They talk only about the support which the socialist camp gives the national liberation movement and ignore the support which the latter gives the former. They talk only about the role of the working-class movement in the Western capitalist countries in dealing blows at imperialism and belittle or ignore the role of the national liberation movement in the same connection. Their stand contradicts Marxism-Leninism and disregards the facts, and is therefore wrong.
The question of what attitude to take towards the relationship between the socialist countries and the revolution of the oppressed nations, and towards the relationship between the working-class movement in the capitalist countries and the revolution of the oppressed nations, involves the important principle of whether Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism are to be upheld or abandoned.
According to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, every socialist country which has achieved victory in its revolution must actively support and assist the liberation struggles of the oppressed nations. The socialist countries must become base areas for supporting and developing the revolution of the oppressed nations and peoples throughout the world, form the closest alliance with them and carry the proletarian world revolution through to completion.
But the leaders of the CPSU virtually regard the victory of socialism in one country or several countries as the end of the proletarian world revolution. They want to subordinate the national liberation revolution to their general line of peaceful coexistence and to the national interests of their own country.
When in 1925 Stalin fought the liquidationists, represented by the Trotskyites and Zinovievites, he pointed out that one of the dangerous characteristics of liquidationism was:
. . . lack of confidence in the international proletarian revolution, lack of confidence in its victory; a sceptical attitude towards the national-liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries . . . failure to understand the elementary demand of internationalism, by virtue of which the victory of socialism in one country is not an end in itself, but a means of developing and supporting the revolution in other countries. (Stalin, op. cit ., p. 169.)
That is the path of nationalism and degeneration, the path of the complete liquidation of the proletariat’s international policy, for people afflicted with this disease regard our country not as a part of the whole that is called the world revolutionary movement, but as the beginning and the end of that movement, believing that the interests of all other countries should be sacrificed to the interests of our country. (Ibid., pp. 169-70.)
Stalin depicted the line of thinking of the liquidationists as follows:
Support the liberation movement in China? But why? Wouldn’t that be dangerous? Wouldn’t it bring us into conflict with other countries? Wouldn’t it be better if we established “spheres of influence” in China in conjunction with other “advanced” powers and snatched something from China for our own benefit? That would be both useful and safe.... And so on and so forth. (Ibid., p. 170.)
Such is the new type of nationalist “frame of mind,” which is trying to liquidate the foreign policy of the October Revolution and is cultivating the elements of degeneration. (Ibid., p. 170.)
The present leaders of the CPSU have gone farther than the old liquidationists. Priding themselves on their cleverness, they only take up what is “both useful and safe”. Mortally afraid of being involved in conflict with the imperialist countries, they have set their minds on opposing the national liberation movement. They are intoxicated with the idea of the two “super-powers” establishing spheres of influence throughout the world. Stalin’s criticism of the liquidationists is a fair description of the present leaders of the CPSU. Following in the footsteps of the liquidationists, they have liquidated the foreign policy of the October Revolution and taken the path of nationalism and degeneration.
. . . it is obvious that the first country to be victorious can retain the role of standard-bearer of the world revolutionary movement only on the basis of consistent internationalism, only on the basis of the foreign policy of the October Revolution, and that the path of least resistance and of nationalism in foreign policy is the path of the isolation and decay of the first country to be victorious. (Ibid., p. 171.)
This warning by Stalin is of serious, practical significance for the present leaders of the CPSU.
Similarly, according to Proletarian internationalism, the proletariat and the Communists of the oppressor nations must actively support both the right of the oppressed nations to national independence and their struggles for liberation. With the support of the oppressed nations, the proletariat of the oppressor nations will be better able to win its revolution.
Lenin hit the nail on the head when he said:
The revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would actually be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of “colonial” slaves who are oppressed by capital. (Lenin, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1951, Vol. II, Part 2, pp. 472-73.)
However, some self-styled Marxist-Leninists have abandoned Marxism-Leninism on this very question of fundamental principle. The leaders of the French Communist Party are typical in this respect.
Over a long period of time, the leaders of the CPF have abandoned the struggle against U.S. imperialism, refusing to put up a firm fight against U.S. imperialist control over and restrictions on France in the political, economic and military fields and surrendering the banner of French national struggle against the United States to people like de Gaulle; on the other hand, they have been using various devices and excuses to defend the colonial interests of the French imperialists, have refused to support, and indeed opposed, the national liberation movements in the French colonies, and particularly opposed national revolutionary wars; they have sunk into the quagmire of chauvinism.
“Europeans often forget that colonial peoples are also nations, but to tolerate such ‘forgetfulness’ is to tolerate chauvinism.” (Lenin, Collected Works, International Publishers, New York, 1942, Vol. XIX, p.250.) Yet the leadership of the French Communist Party, represented by Comrade Thorez, has not only tolerated this “forgetfulness”, but has openly regarded the peoples of the French colonies as “naturalized Frenchmen”, refused to acknowledge their right to national independence in dissociation from France and publicly supported the policy of “national assimilation” pursued by the French imperialists.
For the past ten years and more, the leaders of the French Communist Party have followed the colonial policy of the French imperialists and served as an appendage of French monopoly capital. In 1946, when the French monopoly capitalist rulers played a neo-colonialist trick by proposing to form a French Union, they followed suit and proclaimed that “we have always envisaged the French Union as a ‘free union of free peoples”’ and that “the French Union will permit the regulation, on a new basis, of the relations between the people of France and the overseas peoples who have in the past been attached to France”. In 1958, when the French Union collapsed and the French government proposed the establishment of a French Community to preserve its colonial system, the leaders of the CPF again followed suit and proclaimed “we believe that the creation of a genuine community will be a positive event”.
Moreover, in opposing the demand of the people in the French colonies for national independence, the leaders of the CPF have even tried to intimidate them, saying that “any attempt to break away from the Union of France will only lead to the strengthening of imperialism; although independence may be won, it will be temporary, nominal and false”. They further openly declared: “The question is whether this already unavoidable independence will be with France, or without France and against France. The interest of our country requires that this independence should be with France.”
On the question of Algeria, the chauvinist stand of the leaders of the CPF is all the more evident. They have recently tried to justify themselves by asserting that they had long “recognised the correct demand of the people of Algeria for freedom”. But what are the facts?
For a long time the leaders of the CPF refused to recognize Algeria’s right to national independence; they followed the French monopoly capitalists, crying that “Algeria is an inalienable part of France” and that France “should be a great African power, now and in the future”. Thorez and others were most concerned about the fact that Algeria could provide France with “a million head of sheep” and large quantities of wheat yearly to solve her problem of “the shortage of meat” and “make up our deficit in grain”.
Just see! What feverish chauvinism on the part of the leaders of the CPF! Do they show an iota of proletarian internationalism? Is there anything of the proletarian revolutionary in them? By taking this chauvinistic stand they have betrayed the fundamental interests of the international proletariat, the fundamental interests of the French proletariat and the true interests of the French nation.
Having used up all their wonder-working weapons for opposing the national liberation movement, the leaders of the CPSU are now reduced to seeking help from racism, the most reactionary of all imperialist theories. They describe the correct stand of the CPC in resolutely supporting the national liberation movement as “creating racial and geographical barriers”, “replacing the class approach with the racial approach”, and “playing upon the national and even racial prejudices of the Asian and African peoples”.
If Marxism-Leninism did not exist, perhaps such lies could deceive people. Unfortunately for the manufacturers of these lies, they live in the wrong age, for Marxism-Leninism has already found its way deep into people’s hearts. As Stalin rightly pointed out, Leninism “broke down the wall between whites and blacks, between Europeans and Asiatics, between the ‘civilised’ and ‘uncivilized’ slaves of imperialism”. (Stalin, op. cit. , Vol. VI, p. 144.) It is futile for the leaders of the CPSU to try and rebuild this wall of racism.
In the last analysis, the national question in the contemporary world is one of class struggle and anti-imperialist struggle. Today the workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals, anti-imperialist and patriotic bourgeois elements and other patriotic and anti-imperialist enlightened people of all races — white, black, yellow or brown — have formed a broad united front against the imperialists, headed by the United States, and their lackeys. This united front is expanding and growing stronger. The question here is not whether to side with the white people or the coloured people, but whether to side with the oppressed peoples and nations or with the handful of imperialists and reactionaries.
According to the Marxist-Leninist class stand, oppressed nations must draw a clear line of demarcation between themselves and the imperialists and colonialists. To blur this line represents a chauvinist-view serving imperialism and colonialism.
This is precisely why the central point in the Social-Democratic programme must be the distinction between oppressing and oppressed nations, which is the essence of imperialism, which is falsely evaded by the social-chauvinists, and by Kautsky. (Lenin, Selected Works, New York, Vol. V, p. 284.)
By slandering the unity of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America in the anti-imperialist struggle as being “based on the geographical and racial principles”, the leaders of the CPSU have obviously placed themselves in the position of the social-chauvinists and of Kautsky.
When they peddle the “theory of racism”, describing the national liberation movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America as one of the coloured against the white race, the leaders of the CPSU are clearly aiming at inciting racial hatred among the white people in Europe and North America, at diverting the people of the world from the struggle against imperialism and at turning the international working-class movement away from the struggle against modern revisionism.
The leaders of the CPSU have raised a hue and cry about the “Yellow Peril” and the “imminent menace of Genghis Khan”. This is really not worth refuting. We do not intend in this article to comment on the historical role of Genghis Khan or on the development of the Mongolian, Russian and Chinese nations and the process of their formation into states. We would only remind the leaders of the CPSU of their need to review their history lessons before manufacturing such tales. Genghis Khan was a Khan of Mongolia, and in his day both China and Russia were subjected to Mongolian aggression. He invaded part of northwestern and northern China in 1215 and Russia in 1223. After his death, his successors subjugated Russia in 1240 and thirty-nine years later, in 1279, conquered the whole of China.
Lu Hsun, the well-known Chinese writer, has a paragraph about Genghis Khan in an article he wrote in 1934. We include it here for your reference as it may be useful to you.
He wrote that, as a young man of twenty,
I had been told that “our” Genghis Khan had conquered Europe and ushered in the most splendid period in “our” history. Not until I was twenty-five did I discover that this so-called most splendid period of “our” history was actually the time when the Mongolians conquered China and we became slaves. And not until last August, when browsing through three books on Mongolian history, looking for history stories, did I find out that the conquest of “Russia” by the Mongolians and their invasion of Hungary and Austria actually preceded their conquest of China, and that the Genghis Khan of that time was not yet our Khan. The Russians were enslaved before we were, and presumably it is they who ought to be able to say “When our Genghis Khan conquered China, he ushered in the most splendid period of our history.” (Lu Hsun, Collected Works, Chinese ed., Vol. VI, p. 109.)
Anyone with a little knowledge of modern world history knows that the “theory of the Yellow Peril” about which the CPSU leadership has been making such a noise is a legacy of the German emperor William II. Half a century ago, William II stated, “I am a believer in the Yellow Peril.”
The German Emperor’s purpose in propagating the “theory of the Yellow Peril” was to carry the partition of China further, to invade Asia, to suppress revolution in Asia, to divert the attention of the European people from revolution and to use it as a smokescreen for his active preparations for the imperialist world war and for his attempt to gain world hegemony.
When William II spread this “theory of the Yellow Peril”, the European bourgeoisie was in deep decline and extremely reactionary, and democratic revolutions were sweeping through China, Turkey and Persia and affecting India, around the time of the 1905 Russian Revolution. That was the period, too, when Lenin made his famous remark about “backward Europe and advanced Asia”.
William II was a bigwig in his day. But in reality he proved to be only a snow man in the sun. In a very short time this reactionary chieftain vanished from the scene, together with the reactionary theory he invented. The great Lenin and his brilliant teachings live on for ever.
Fifty years have gone by; imperialism in Western Europe and North America has become still more moribund and reactionary, and its days are numbered. Meanwhile, the revolutionary storm raging over Asia, Africa and Latin America has grown many times stronger than in Lenin’s time. It is hardly credible that today there are still people who wish to step into the shoes of William II. This is indeed a mockery of history.
The policy of the leadership of the CPSU on the national-colonial question is identical with the bankrupt policy of the revisionists of the Second International. The only difference is that the latter served the imperialists’ old colonialism, while the modern revisionists serve the imperialists’ neo-colonialism.
The old revisionists sang to the tune of the old colonialists, and Khrushchov sings to the tune of the neocolonialists.
The heroes of the Second International, represented by Bernstein and Kautsky, were apologists for the old colonial rule of imperialism. They openly declared that colonial rule was progressive, that it “brought a high civilization” to the colonies and “developed the productive forces” there. They even asserted that the “abolition of the colonies would mean barbarism”.
In this respect Khrushchov is somewhat different from the old revisionists. He is bold enough to denounce the old colonial system.
How is it that Khrushchov is so bold? Because the imperialists have changed their tune.
After World War II, under the twin blows of the socialist revolution and the national liberation revolution, the imperialists were forced to recognize that “if the West had attempted to perpetuate the status quo of colonialism, it would have made violent revolution inevitable and defeat inevitable”. The old colonialist forms of rule “on the contrary, ... are likely to prove ‘running sores’ which destroy both the economic and the moral vigour of a nation’s life”. Thus it became necessary to change the form and practice neo-colonialism.
Thus, too, Khrushchov singing to the tune of the neo-colonialist flaunts the “theory of the disappearance of colonialism” in order to cover up the new colonialism. What is more, he tries to induce the oppressed nations to embrace this new colonialism. He actively propagates the view that “peaceful coexistence” between the oppressed nations and civilized imperialism will make “the national economy grow rapidly” and bring about an “uplift of their productive forces”, enable the home market in the oppressed countries to “become incomparably greater” and “furnish more raw materials, and various products and goods required by the economy of the industrially developed countries” and, at the same time will “considerably raise the living standard of the inhabitants in the highly developed capitalist countries”.
Nor has Khrushchov forgotten to collect certain wornout weapons from the arsenal of the revisionists of the Second International.
Here are some examples.
The old revisionists opposed wars of national liberation and held that the national question “can be settled only through international agreements” and “advance in all the arts of peace”. On this question, Khrushchov has taken over the line of the revisionists of the Second International; he advocates a “quiet burial of the colonial system”.
The old revisionists attacked the revolutionary Marxists, hurling at them the slander that “Bolshevism is in essence a warlike type of socialism” and that “the Communist International harbours the illusion that the liberation of the workers can be achieved by means of the bayonets of the victorious Red Army and that a new world war is necessary for the world revolution”. They also spread the story that this position had “created the greatest danger of a new world war”. The language Khrushchov uses today to slander the Chinese Communist Party and other fraternal Marxist-Leninist Parties is exactly the language used by the old revisionists in slandering the Bolsheviks. It is hard to find any difference.
It must be said that in serving the imperialists’ neo-colonialism, Khrushchov is not a whit inferior to the old revisionists in their service of the imperialists’ old colonialism.
Lenin showed how the policy of imperialism caused the international workers’ movement to split into two sections, the revolutionary and the opportunist. The revolutionary section sided with the oppressed nations and opposed the imperialists and colonialists. On the other hand, the opportunist section fed on crumbs from the spoils which the imperialists and colonialists squeezed out of the people of the colonies and semi-colonies. It sided with the imperialists and colonialists and opposed the revolution of the oppressed nations for liberation.
The same kind of division between revolutionaries and opportunists in the international working-class movement as that described by Lenin is now taking shape not only in the working-class movement in capitalist countries but also in socialist countries where the proletariat wields state power.
The experience of history shows that if the national liberation movement is to achieve complete victory it must form a solid alliance with the revolutionary working-class movement, draw a clear line of demarcation between itself and the revisionists who serve the imperialists and colonialists, and firmly eradicate their influence.
The experience of history shows that if the working-class movement of the capitalist countries in Western Europe and North America is to achieve complete victory, it must form a close alliance with the national liberation movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America, draw a clear line of demarcation between itself and the revisionists, and firmly eradicate their influence.
The revisionists are agents of imperialism who have hidden themselves among the ranks of the international working-class movement. Lenin said, “... the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.” (Lenin, Selected Works, Moscow, Vol. I, Part 2, p. 566.) Thus it is clear that the present fight against imperialism and old and new colonialism must be linked closely with the fight against the apologists of neo-colonialism.
However hard the imperialists disguise their intentions and bestir themselves, however hard their apologists whitewash and help neo-colonialism, imperialism and colonialism cannot escape their doom. The victory of the national liberation revolution is irresistible. Sooner or later the apologists of neo-colonialism will go bankrupt.
Workers of the world and the oppressed nations, unite!
Document List | Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung