This paper by ILPS Chair Emeritus Jose Maria Sison was delivered during the launching assembly of the International People’s Front in Bangkok, Thailand, on 28 September 2022. It provides a brief historical background of the rise of modern imperialism to dominance, expounds on the current contradictions and crises wracking the world’s countries and the entire global capitalist system, and offers some valuable insights on the prospects for the anti-imperialist struggle and the resurgence of socialism.
On the World Situation
By Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson Emeritus, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
September 26, 2022
I wish to give you a brief historical background before I discuss our main topic, which is the current world situation. In discussing this situation, I shall present the major contradictions and crises. Then, I shall discuss the prospects of the anti-imperialist struggle and the resurgence of socialism.
I. Historical background
Free competition capitalism inevitably led to monopoly capitalism in the last three decades of the 19th century in the most advanced capitalist countries. The capitalist class had kept on raising the organic composition of capital by increasing constant capital (plant, equipment and raw materials) and decreasing the variable capital for wages.
Ultimately, monopoly capitalism became dominant in the economy and society. Industrial capital merged with bank capital to form the finance oligarchy. The export of surplus capital gained importance over the export of surplus commodities. The capitalist class formed cartels and syndicates against each other. The capitalist powers formed blocs against other. The division of the world as economic territory (as sources of cheap raw materials and cheap labor, as fields of investments and as markets, as spheres of influence—as colonies, semicolonies and dependent countries) was completed.
As Lenin pointed out, monopoly capitalism is the highest and final stage of capitalist development. For any bloc of capitalist powers to redivide the world in its favor is to cause a war, such as World Wars I and II. Monopoly capitalism is decadent, moribund, aggressive and prone to war. But the advent of monopoly capitalism in the late decades of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th century introduced not only the era of modern imperialism and the most destructive wars in the history of mankind but also the era of world proletarian-socialist revolution.
As a result of World War I, an inter-imperialist war of the Allied and Central Powers, the Great October Socialist Revolution won victory and the Soviet Union emerged in one-sixth of the surface of the earth to challenge the world capitalist system. In the course of World War II, the Soviet Union shone as the most decisive force in defeating the fascist Axis powers and enabling the rise of several socialist countries, including those of Eastern Europe and China. The victories of the anti-fascist forces in World War II and the resultant socialist camp contributed as well to the emergence of newly independent countries and powerful national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
By 1956, it could be said that more than one-third of humanity was already governed by communist and workers’ parties. But this was also the year that the modern revisionists headed by Khrushchov took power in the Soviet Union, took advantage of the difficult postwar conditions as a result of the deaths of 27 million Soviet people and the grave destruction wrought by World War II to the Soviet economy.
Stalin had practically industrialized the Soviet Union for the second time from 1945 onward and broke the US nuclear monopoly in 1949. But the Soviet modern revisionists chose to play the role of cowards by harping on the line of detente, bourgeois populism and bourgeois pacificism as a craven reaction to the US whipping up the Cold War since 1948.
Upon the postwar consolidation of hardline anticommunists ruling US society with the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the US fortified militarism with the setting up of the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) and the Pentagon. It sought to intervene in the Chinese civil war and then launched a war against the Korean people in 1950. It was put to a stalemate by the Korean people and the Chinese volunteers. Thus the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea stood beside the People’s Republic of China to breach the Eastern front of US imperialism.
Further on, the Indochinese people advanced on the road of people’s war, with the Vietnamese people taking the lead in defeating the French colonialists in 1954 and ultimately US imperialism in 1975. It became utterly clear that it is impossible for US imperialism to impose its hegemony on the Asian mainland because of the cross-border advantages of the Asian peoples generated by the October Revolution of the great Lenin and Stalin, followed by socialist China in the time of Mao.
At any rate, the US succeeded Nazi Germany as the strongest imperialist power after World War II, and its industrial capacity was expanded due to the war and was also undamaged by the war. It stood up as the fiercest imperialist power, took over the Nazi-led global anticommunist campaign by spearheading the Cold War and continued the world capitalist counterrevolution against the cause of national liberation, democracy and socialism.
It decided to reconstruct and rehabilitate the capitalist countries that belonged to the Allied and Axis powers in order to confront and fight the socialist cause and the strong wave of national liberation movements. It employed the twin domestic policy of suppressing rising American anti-capitalist and anti-fascist trends among the workers’, youth, civil rights, anti-racist, anti-war, anti-nuclear, social justice and socialist movements and placating the American populace with the highest of living standards from 1945 to 1975 among the imperialist powers even as it was spending heavily for maintaining overseas military bases and waging wars of aggression.
It continued to strengthen the overall imperialist front against the Soviet Union and other revolutionary forces and to face the problem of stagflation that had arisen as a result of the economic recovery of its fellow imperialist powers. Towards the end of the 1970s, it decided to adopt the neoliberal policy in order to bring about economic expansion as if without limit and even use the policy to entice revisionist-ruled countries to take loans from the West and import high-grade consumer goods.
The US found it opportune to take advantage of the Sino-Soviet ideological dispute to advance US interests and global capitalism. Although in the aforesaid dispute China and Mao Zedong were on the Marxist-Leninist and socialist side, against the Khrushchovite capitalist reformers in the Soviet Union and thereafter the social capitalist, social fascist and social-imperialist camp under Brezhnev, the US strategists found breaches among the Leftists in China and between them and the Centrist-Rightist side to take advantage of.
Thus, by 1971, there was a severe split between the Group of Four and the Chen Boda-Lin Biao alliance which allowed the Centrist-Rightist faction to rise and become dominant with the line of diplomatic prudence and “modernization” through capitalist-oriented reforms and opening up to the US and the world capitalist system. The Nixon visit of 1972 concurred with the counteroffensive to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and rise of the Dengist counterrevolution.
The capitalist romance of the US and China started with sweat-shop operations and gross exploitation of cheap Chinese labor from the late 1970s to the 1980s. This coincided with the dismantling of the communes and privatization of the rural industrial cooperatives. The US was at first careful in giving concessions to China with regard to technology transfer but loosened up steadily after the outburst of the Chinese uprisings against inflation and corruption in 1989. From the early 1990s onward, the US increased its concessions to China as the latter made further concessions on the liberalization of trade and investments and joined the WTO in 2001. The rise of capitalism in China became conspicuous in the last four decades.
The US-China economic and political relations appeared to be going along well until the financial meltdown of 2008. Shortly thereafter, during the Obama regime, the US started to complain of China’s economic and military rise and excluded China from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). It drummed up the strategic pivot of the US forces to East Asia in order to contain China. When the Trump regime took over, the US declared a trade war on China, withdrew trade and investment concessions from China and condemned her for stealing high technology from US companies and research institutes. It identified China as the chief economic competitor and political rival of the US.
In the case of the Soviet Union, the US induced Brezhnev to plunge into the Afghan quagmire from the late 1970s onward. Biased by its long-running class hatred of the Soviet Union as the first socialist country and its intense rivalry in the Cold War, the main goal of the US was to subvert the Soviet Union and make it rot, lose control over Eastern Europe and ultimately dissolve itself. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet revisionist rulers received assurances from the US and other Western powers that NATO would not recruit former members of the Warsaw Pact after its dissolution. But the US and NATO proceeded to expand the NATO in Eastern Europe and tried to extend it to former Soviet republics. They intensified their war of aggression in Iraq in the name of a “new world order” in the 1990s. And before the end of the 20th century, they destroyed Yugoslavia and punished it for being a stalwart of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Subsequently, the US announced its neoconservative policy of taking advantage of its being sole superpower and using the full spectrum of its power to dominate the world. In the name of the “war on terror”, the US unleashed wars of aggression in Central Asia, Middle East and the Balkans. In the name of the global war on terror, it carried out wars of aggression with impunity on a global scale. These are the worst forms of terrorism condemned by the Nuremberg principles.
In trying to take advantage of its moment of being sole superpower since 1991, the US has aggravated and accelerated its strategic decline, incurring more than USD 10 trillion in public debt by 2010 [the figure has tripled to USD 30 trillion as of 2022—PRISM eds.] without obtaining more significant amounts of stable economic territory to exploit. It has been compelled to leave Afghanistan after failing to conquer it after 20 years of occupation.
In the meantime, China has moved forward in growing its economy even as this is capitalist and has gained space for maneuver with the BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative, the New Development Bank, and the AIIB as alternatives or supplements to such traditional multilateral agencies as the IMF, World Bank, the WTO, OECD, the G-7 and so on.
II. The World Situation: Major Contradictions and Crises
The major contradictions in the world capitalist system are intensifying. They include those between monopoly capital and labor in the imperialist countries, those among the imperialist countries, those between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations, and those between the imperialist powers and the countries assertive of national independence and socialist program and aspirations.
It is of great importance to recognize the contradictions of monopoly capital and labor within the imperialist countries in order to understand the limits to the economic and political expansion of those countries. Within these countries, there are limits to capital expansion as exposed by the recurrent crises of overproduction or cycles of boom and bust. These also set limits to global capital expansion, contrary to the claims of the neoliberal economists that there are no such limits.
There are limits to cutting down wages and social services to make more capital available to the capitalist class, to enable it to privatize profitable public assets, to flourish in liberalized trade and investments, to plunder the environment, to denationalize national economies and to resort to public borrowing to bail out corporations and entire economies in trouble. Global public debt has leapt from USD 226 trillion in 2020 to USD303 trillion in 2021. The global debt is more than 320 percent of global GDP and is growing faster.
The US has persuaded its traditional imperialist allies that China is its chief economic competitor and chief political rival; and that the combination of China and Russia as the new capitalist and imperialist powers is their adversary. After casting away socialism in favor of capitalism, why should these two countries be treated by the US and its allies as their enemy?
It is in the nature of imperialist powers to seek world hegemony and to form blocs for the purpose of gaining profits according to the balance of forces gained at every given stage. This is also the obsession of the most powerful imperialist powers to gain control and hegemony over the weaker imperialist powers. The traditional imperialist powers have the notion that they should be at the top of the new imperialist powers.
At the moment, the consensus of the traditional imperialist powers is that Russia is the weakest of the new imperialist powers because it has it has disintegrated its previous Soviet industrial prowess and lagged behind in industrial development and has an oligarchy that depends on the production of energy, raw materials and agricultural products (wheat, corn, barley, and sunflower oil) in exchange for foreign manufactures.
However, the traditional imperialist powers continue to be wary over Russia’s stockpile of nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems. They hope to weaken Russia economically and politically by violating their own dogma of neoliberalism and adopting sanctions against Russia and by instigating proxy wars against it on the basis of the expansion of NATO. Thus the US and the EU have pushed Ukraine to serve as their pawn in their proxy war against Russia and have taken the initiative in imposing sanctions against Russia.
To conjure the illusion that it is still powerful in the whole world, including East Asia, the US has taken the initiative to make provocations against China concurrent with the hot war that has started between Russia and Ukraine. But the shallowness and puerility of the provocations, such as the unwanted visit of Pelosi to Taiwan, have been easily exposed. The US threat to drop the One-China policy is futile, if the goal is to use the Taiwan-ROC flag to justify an imperialist project to retake mainland China, because it has long been proven that any US military expedition to the Asian mainland is futile and is bound to fail.
The more effective attack by the US on China has been its ceasing of their long-running neoliberal partnership on a global scale and their bilateral relations as the biggest US economic and trade partner, with China being able to access previously well guarded US technology. As a result of the US-China contradictions, China has suffered internal economic and financial setbacks and adverse consequences on its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The US is vigorously opposing the BRI with the AUKUS military alliance of Australia, UK and US, with the QUAD Indo-Pacific Initiative (US, Japan, Australia and India) and with the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, which involves G-7 support.
The crisis of overproduction in the capitalist system is still investigated and measured within the bounds of every imperialist country. And consequently on a global scale, the overconcentration of capital, the deteriorating conditions of employment and life, the overproduction of goods can be determined. As science and technology raise productivity, the proletariat are compelled to live in poverty amidst the plenty that they create for the capitalists to make profit on.
Even without the necessary tools of Marxist analysis, global economic inequality is starkly obvious in just a cursory review of infographics-style indicators: The ten richest countries in the world are as follows: 1.United States – $18.62 Tn, 2. China – $11.22 Tn, 3. Japan – $4.94 Tn, 4. Germany – $3.48 Tn, 5. United Kingdom – $2.65 Tn, 6. France – $2.47 Tn, 7. India – $2.26 Tn, 8. Italy – $1.86 Tn, 9. Brazil – $1.80 Tn and 10. Canada – $1.53. Half of the world’s net wealth belongs to the top 1%, top 10% of adults hold 85%, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world’s total wealth. The top 30% of adults hold 97% of the total wealth.
The total of 2,153 billionaires in the world have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet’s population, according to Oxfam. Neoliberal globalization by the rise of the so-called transnational capitalist class or US-led global monopoly bourgeoisie—actually, new and evolving forms of the same basic imperialist bourgeoisies and their financial oligarchies ruling jointly through international cartels and blocs—has accelerated the overaccumulation of capital in the hands of a few and the immiseration of the overwhelming majority of the people.
It was supposed to solve the problem of stagflation for the US and the whole world by freeing capital from nation-state constraints to profitmaking and to buoy up big and small boats by raising the water level. And as the Oxfam report said, we end up with just one percent of humanity owning over one-half of the world’s wealth, the top 20 percent owning 94.5 percent and 80 percent of the people sharing just 5.5 percent.
The extreme overconcentration of wealth in the hands of the capitalist class and the expanded impoverishment of the majority of the people proves that the capitalist class has no way to dispose nationally of the huge amounts of surplus that it has accumulated. The gross disparities have merely led to more financial bubbles, which in turn result in even more mind-boggling economic inequalities when the bubbles burst, to be gradually replaced by new bubbles. This has been exposed by the Great Depression that has unfolded since the financial meltdown of 2008. This has hit hard the imperialist countries and far worse the oppressed peoples and nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Neoliberalism has appeared in imperialist countries as the handmaiden of fascism. The imperialist states prepare themselves to use fascism in order to suppress the mass protests and strikes engendered by unemployment, low wages and decreased social services. We notice now that the traditional and new imperialist powers are prone to use fascism to suppress the mass resistance of the proletariat. In addition, there are factional struggles within each imperialist state which the system can no longer easily do regularly as before. This further drives up the tendency for one ambitious faction of the ruling class to use fascism to further monopolize power, keep itself at the top, and suppress all but the mildest forms of dissent.
New democratic and socialist revolutions are vilified as “communist terrorism” to justify state terrorism or fascism. The danger of a third world war and nuclear war comes mainly from the rise of fascism in both imperialist states and their client states. Unable to solve the serious economic and social problems brought about by neoliberalism, the states of monopoly bourgeoisie engage in fascism to suppress democratic rights and the restive proletariat and other working people. Even the forms of resistance by the spontaneous masses against specific abuses are likewise demonized as “terrorist” or, ironically, “Rightist-led.” These are increasingly met with police surveillance and violence, to further hone the swords and stir the bloodlust of the fascist butchers.
The worst of exploitation and oppression transpire in the intensifying contradictions of the imperialist powers and the impoverished peoples and nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In times of global depression or not, these peoples are victimized in their own countries by foreign monopoly capital using them as cheap sources of raw materials and cheap labor, markets of surplus goods, fields of investments for surplus capital and as spheres of influence.
In the past decade, and especially at the height of the Covid pandemic and global lockdowns, the dominant monopoly capitalist groups took advantage of the complex tangle of trade and supply-chain disruptions and depleted finances to further tie down and squeeze the poor countries. Sri Lanka’s recent economic collapse and political convulsion is just a foretaste of a worsening global foreign-debt bubble. Nearly 20 countries have been listed as on the verge of a debt default.
The oppressed peoples and nations are the most motivated to fight for national liberation and democracy and socialism. The most important armed revolutionary struggles against imperialism are being waged today in such countries as India, the Philippines, Turkey, Kurdistan and Palestine. They are in the main waging people’s war along the line of the new democratic revolution with a socialist perspective.
In the countries where the people are still waging the new democratic revolution, the imperialist powers and their puppets use the neoliberal forms of exploitation and the most brutal forms of fascism to oppress the people. The imperialist powers use either puppet regimes to dominate these countries or unleash wars of aggression. In an increasing number of cases, the imperialists are also cunning enough to dress up their interventionist meddling by whipping up certain restive sectors to launch so-called “color revolutions” in order to implement regime change.
Since the end of World War II, the imperialist powers have so far avoided direct wars among themselves because of their fear of nuclear war in both its short-term and long-term effects, including the still barely understood long-term effects on health, environment, and continued viability of most forms of life on the planet. Also, the US made doubly sure to minimize nuclear rearmament by assuring Germany and Japan of its nuclear umbrella and imposing strict bans on nuclear proliferation.
Thus far, the US and its imperialist allies have succeeded in channeling their economic and political rivalries, including territorial redivisions, through negotiated deals within international and regional bodies, while constricting Russia and China. But they have gone into proxy wars to dominate the underdeveloped countries or gain positions of strength. Thus, the imperialist powers have decreased the chances of direct inter-imperialist wars. But for the first time, the US and NATO have openly emboldened Ukraine to provoke a war with Russia, a country with nuclear power, which has put on maximum alert its nuclear forces. Unlike in earlier Cold War-era crises, there are now so many tiers of “tactical nuke” weaponry pre-deployed in hot spots, which further raises the risks of runaway military escalation.
While for many decades since the end of the US nuclear bomb monopoly, the US has been conspicuously frightened by the nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union and then of Russia, the US and all other imperialist powers have mindlessly engaged in the plunder and devastation of the environment, especially in the underdeveloped countries, bringing about the current problem of global warming or global heating, which also threatens the very existence of humanity.
The attack on the environment is multi-pronged. It includes the extremely high dependence of capitalist industries on fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” that hasten climate change, and the use of various extractive and industrial processes that produce toxic industrial wastes, destroy the forests, marine and other biomes, especially those with rich biodiversity, destroy and disturb the various organisms there, and poison the air, water and soil used by local populations and agriculture in order to make way for logging, mining and plantations.
Couple these with the obvious environmental devastation wrought by U.S.-led wars of aggression and maintenance of history’s largest global network of military facilities and globally-deployed armed forces. The U.S. military has in fact been condemned as the world’s single biggest polluter. Not to be discounted as well is the completely unaudited impact on the earth of the indulgence of the world’s military powers in the active but completely covert diabolical weaponization of the weather.
The imperialist powers have also engaged in laboratory research for the purpose of chemical and biological warfare and serious out of control leaks have also occurred, causing pandemics like SARS and Covid-19 in the US, China, and much of the world. Most Western scientific, academic and serious media circles are now saying that the SARS-Cov2 virus is a product of “gain-of-function research”—a euphemism for biowarfare research and development. Russia has recently accused the US of having secretly funded bioweapons laboratories in Ukraine and elsewhere.
Countries assertive of national independence and socialist programs and aspirations still play an important role in resisting the impositions of imperialist powers and the machinations of their local puppets. As they persevere in their revolutionary commitment and struggle, countries like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Cuba and other anti-imperialist countries can make important contributions to upholding, defending and advancing the cause of national liberation, democracy and socialism on a world scale.
These countries can rely on their own strength, ally themselves with the oppressed peoples and nations still fighting for national and social liberation and take advantage of the splits between the traditional and the new imperialist powers. We are reminded of historical lessons, both positive and negative, in grasping the class character and the objective balance of forces within such countries and their states. The proletarian revolutionaries in China, for example, saw the class logic and had to learn priceless lessons in united-front tactics in dealing with Sun Yatsen’s Guomindang in the 1921-27 period. There are other examples among the national liberation movements in the post-World War II period. It is a matter of political wisdom for the revolutionary forces of the world today to do everything possible in order to develop anti-imperialist solidarity with such countries and states and to make up for the deleterious consequences of of modern revisionism in subverting and destroying the socialist states in the 20th century.
III. Prospects of Anti-Imperialist Struggle and Resurgence of Socialism
The conditions are exceedingly favorable for the advance of the anti-imperialist and democratic mass struggles in all types of countries, be they imperialist or imperialist-dominated. They arise as a result of the intensifying major contradictions in the world capitalist system. Once more they lay the ground for great disorder and turbulence in this system and the resurgence of the world proletarian socialist revolution.
Confounded by the rapidly worsening crisis of their system as a result of the unravelling of the neoliberal policy regime, the traditional and new imperialist powers are prone to seek solutions through intensified economic plunder and predation, fascism and wars of aggression.The proletariat and the rest of the people in the imperialist countries are suffering grievously the socioeconomic crisis of the system and now fascism is being imposed on them to aggravate their suffering.
Even now, there is already a strong trend towards another globally devastating economic crash. The revolutionary forces of the people ought to sharply point out the criminal all-sided accountabilities of the predatory classes for the currently worsening global economic supercrisis, and condemn any obfuscations of their accountability, like making COVID-19 and any ensuing pandemic as the cop-out reason. They have no choice but to fight back with all vigor.
In the US, while the incumbent president Biden is using democratic jargon and wooing other Right and Center forces to dress up the growing fascist werewolf that is the imperialist Deep State, Trump is trying hard to whip up his followers into a frenzy of white supremacist slogans in order to bring him back to the White House in order to use the same Deep State to govern a more unruly and divided empire. In the rest of the imperialist countries, there are trends which favor Rightist, including ultra-Rightist, positions. We must also be carefully exercise class analysis to expose the many forms of Rightist positions masquerading as Center or Left. At the same time, these rouse the proletariat and people to rise up against their worsening conditions of mass unemployment, low income and dearth of social services.
In the new imperialist countries there is a rising wave of discontent and hatred against the oligarchs who have privatized the social wealth created by the proletariat and other working people. The promises of greater efficiency and prosperity through the adoption of capitalism have been unfulfilled for so long. In former socialist countries, which have not been strong enough to become imperialist powers, the conditions have sunk to the level of the third world countries.
The current mass uprisings in Czechoslovakia are a positive signal for the people in Eastern and Central Europe to rise up against the US and NATO and the entire world capitalist system even as Ukraine is manifesting what has gone terribly wrong since the rise of fascism on the back of a chauvinism against the sizeable Russian minority population. Now the oligarchs of both Russia and Ukraine are locked in a prolonged war and the US and NATO are using Ukraine to ensure that Russia is further weakened and become unable to cope with the further advances of US imperialism and NATO in what used to be a wider sphere of the former Soviet Union.
All the turbulence that is occurring and is likely to occur further in the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe will serve to agitate the proletariat and the people to review their history and to recover and reassert their revolutionary will. It is therefore necessary for communists all over the world to encourage the formation of the revolutionary party of the proletariat in these countries.
For a while, the US and its traditional imperialist allies might be able to contain and reduce the economic rise of China even if they entertain the dream of deteriorating economic and political conditions in China, which will cause class struggle to intensify between the dominant Chinese capitalist oligarchy and the proletariat for the purpose of repeating history a la the overthrow of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. At the same time, the U.S.-led Western ruling elite is actively mobilizing important and strategically-placed pro-Western assets within China to undermine it from within, and to gain from new effective counterrevolutionary measures imposed in China. Within China, the use of fascism against the people will only serve to sharpen the battle for democracy, broaden the revolutionary mass movement, and push the proletarian revolutionaries to assert the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
The ever fertile ground for waging armed revolution is in the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America under the domination of imperialist powers and their puppet regimes. They are the most victimized by imperialist and local reactionary oppression and exploitation. They have their own grounds and circumstances for waging revolution and will certainly be encouraged to wage revolution if the proletariat and the people in supposedly more developed countries are already rising up.
On a global scale, the subjective forces of the proletarian revolution can be established and developed faster than ever before. Optimally, the communist party as genuine revolutionary party of the proletariat must adhere to the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and sum up the most vital lessons of the particular revolutionary history and experience, to be able to lead the people in any country where revolution is being waged.
In the course of political struggle, it must be able to unite with the basic masses of the oppressed and exploited people, win over the middle forces, take advantage of the splits among the reactionaries, and isolate and destroy the power of the class enemy or foreign aggressor. It must have a people’s army to be able to wage the armed revolution and seize political power.
Those interested in waging revolution in any country must avail of the history and experience of communist parties that have won victories in Russia, China, DPRK, and Eastern Europe. It is not necessary for an International of Communist and Workers’ parties to exist for a country to start the development of the armed revolution. Lenin spent time debating with and exposing the revisionists, the social chauvinists, social pacifists, social fascists and social imperialists of the Second International to be able to clear the road of revolution in Russia.
He had first to win the Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917 to be able to build the most effective International so far in the history of the revolutionary proletariat. He founded the Third International in 1919. The lack of an international should not be an excuse for failure to start and develop the revolution in any country.
Since the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943, because of the inability of the Executive Committee to give directives to so many parties under conditions of World War II, communist parties that could communicate with each other could cooperate bilaterally and even multilaterally.
There is a far longer history of communist and workers’ parties that are equal to each other and independent of each other under proletarian internationalism and anti-imperialist solidarity. If there is yet no bulwark of socialism as strong as the Soviet Union or China in the past, the revolutionary parties of the proletariat can devise ways of conferences, consultations and communications in order to exchange information, experiences and ideas and raise the level of revolutionary struggle among the proletariat and the people.
After the success of the modern revisionists in the Soviet Union, they held international conferences of communist parties to spread their revisionist line. For a while, the Communist Party of China had to contend with the pro-revisionist conferences sponsored by the Soviet party by engaging in bilateral relations and hosting Central Committee delegations in China. But alas these were dissolved soon after the success of the Dengist counterrevolution.
Attempts were made by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) and subsequently by the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO) to build an international conference of communist and workers parties. But they dissolved after attempts were made to make the host party the center of the world proletarian revolution despite failure to win revolution in their own country. And groups of small parties also took the fancy of naming their theories after revolutionaries who have not yet won a revolution in their own countries, such as Gonzalo Thought, Prachanda Path, Avakian’s New Synthesis and the like. Such cultist groups are in a hurry to claim some kind of global franchise or hegemony.
Since the undeniable successes of the modern revisionists to sabotage the socialist revolutions in the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe, restore capitalism and disintegrate the international communist movement, the most successful anti-imperialist formations have had a mass character, among them the International League of Peoples’ Struggle. These can be powerful mass bases for promoting the establishment and development of the revolutionary parties of the proletariat.
Let us not forget that while the Third International existed, Stalin developed the Popular Front as an international democratic and antifascist force starting in 1935. Thus, he helped the communist parties in various countries to prepare against the imperialist and fascist preparations for war by encouraging various types of mass formations according to class and sectoral democratic interests.
There is a big difference between the circumstances of the founding of the Third International and the circumstances when attempts were made to organize an International as successor to the Comintern outside of any country as the bulwark of socialist revolution. The problem is not merely the lack of a socialist bulwark but also the inadequacies of programs to fight the continuing influences of modern revisionism, all sorts of reformism and subjective idealism propagated by the ideologues and publicists of the imperialist powers.
Since then, significant advances have occurred in the objective conditions for waging the revolution and developing the subjective forces of the revolution. And it is not surprising if there are now renewed efforts to organize a new communist international. But let us first evaluate how much advances need to be made by the initiating parties in terms of ideological, political and organizational victories in the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and people in their own countries. ■