by Ray O. Light
Chairman Mao Tse-tung taught that under world capitalism the relationship between the international proletariat and the international capitalist class forms the principal contradiction – "whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions." (On Contradiction)
Comrade Lenin's teachings on imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism grasped the essential qualitative changes in the capitalist system which altered the situation and the tasks of the revolutionary proletariat as compared with the situation in the pre-imperialist stage. On the basis of these teachings, on the basis of Leninism, the international proletariat experienced tremendous victories in the three or four decades that followed.
One of the challenges for the world's working class vanguard today is to understand what changes, if any, have occurred in the world capitalist system since Lenin's day that are significant enough to alter in some way the tactics and strategy of the world proletarian revolution. In this connection, the emergence of "globalization" in the form of supra-national economic, political, and military alliances which have the capacity to exercise power over even the most powerful imperialist nation-states (even while, for the most part, US imperialism continues to exercise power over these supra -national bodies) is a phenomenon that we need to examine.
Chairman Mao Tse-tung wrote: "In any contradiction the development of the contradictory aspects is uneven...Of the two contradictory aspects, one must be principal and the other secondary. The principal aspect is the one playing the leading role in the contradiction. The nature of the thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect which has gained the dominant position." (ibid)
What, then, is the relationship between globalization and imperialism?
In our view, globalization has not replaced imperialism. Indeed, globalization will only replace imperialism when the international proletariat resolves the principal contradiction with the international capitalist class by establishing world socialism. Yet globalization has added some new wrinkles which serve to magnify all the fundamental contradictions which the imperialist stage of capitalism constantly gives rise to until its demise. That is, globalization serves to make the various features of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism even more pronounced than heretofore. Consequently, we see the heightened reality of the essential features of imperialism (as taught by Lenin) as the principal aspect of the contradiction between globalization and imperialism. And that which is distinctive and new in globalization comprises the secondary aspect of this contradiction.
"IMPERIALIST GLOBALIZATION" EMERGES
Beginning in the late 1960's with the US imperialist-sponsored "era of negotiations" with the revisionist led USSR and People's China, (and with the international communist movement dominated by revisionists in state power) such US imperialist led "global" financial institutions as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been able to increasingly dictate to sovereign nation states. Over the past ten to fifteen years, with the demise of the socialist camp, imperialism, headed by US imperialism, has been able to stride forth in an even more openly tyrannical way. Hence the emergence of "globalization". The establishment of WTO, the newly assertive and expansionist NATO, the European Union, et al are examples of this development.
Yet, with regard to the imperialist stage of capitalism, nothing fundamental has changed.
As Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times points out, "the proportion of world production that is traded on global markets is not that much higher today than it was in the years leading up to World War I. ...In fact, among today's five biggest economies, the only one in which trade has a remarkably greater weight in output than it had a century ago is the United States, where the ratio has jumped from 11 percent in 1910 to 24 percent in 1995." ["Will the Nation-State Survive Globalization?" p. 179-80, Foreign Affairs Jan-Feb 2001]
Bruce R. Scott, a Harvard Business School professor, recently wrote: "Average incomes have indeed been growing, but so has the income gap between rich and poor countries. Both trends have been evident for more than 200 years.... although international markets for goods and capital have opened up since World War II and multilateral organizations now articulate rules and monitor the world economy, economic inequality among countries continues to increase. Some two billion people earn less than $2 per day." [Our emphasis – "The Great Divide in the Global Village," p. 160, Foreign Affairs, Jan-Feb 2001]
Comrade Jose Maria Sison, chairman of the Center for Social Studies and a leading Filipino revolutionary over the past thirty years, addressed the People's Assembly gathered in Seattle a few days before the Battle of Seattle with these words: "Globalization is imperialism. Globalization is a slick and shallow term. It glosses over the reality of modern imperialism or monopoly capitalism... Corporate executives, bureaucrats, bourgeois academic pedants and imperialist-funded NGOs have circulated the term globalization as if it meant a new shiny amazing thing. They try to pass off monopoly capitalism as an irresistible fact of life. In fact, they recycle the old jargon of the laissez faire doctrine to misrepresent monopoly capitalism as free enterprise, free market and free trade. We are still in the era of monopoly capitalism and proletarian revolution..."
Opportunists and Trotskyites, however, have taken up this question from both directions. On the one hand, the main form of opportunism on this question is the tendency to assert that globalization is "a new shiny amazing thing," as Comrade Sison has described this view. Today, under the banner of "fighting globalization", many opportunist and Trotskyite forces have attempted to exaggerate the changes that have been brought about by the continued "maturing" of capitalism, in its last dying stage of imperialism. They want to bury the fact that the imperialist enemy has not changed in nature, that the same fundamental contradictions that plagued imperialism since Lenin's time are still at work. This position negates the principal aspect of the contradiction. It denies the continued existence of imperialism and therefore justifies the elimination of Leninism from the arsenal of the proletarian revolution. In the USA, for example, it is now difficult to find among radical leftists any who will quote or mention Lenin or even utter the word "imperialism" as the basis for explaining to the masses what is happening and what needs to be done.
At the opposite extreme, the other opportunist tendency denies the secondary aspect of the contradiction. It buries its head in the sand as if there is nothing new or different at all represented by the emergence of the IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization, NAFTA, European Union, the expanded, more bellicose NATO, the embryonic Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), and the embryonic Asian and African economic and non-economic organizations modeled along similar lines. Consequently, to succumb to this form of opportunism would make it impossible for the proletarian revolutionaries to keep pace with the new challenges that must be met on the road to proletarian power.
Yes indeed! We are still in the era of Leninism, as comrade Stalin described it. And the three most important contradictions elaborated by Stalin in Foundations of Leninism are still as relevant today. These include: 1. the contradiction between labor and capital; 2. the contradiction among the various financial groups and imperialist powers; and 3. the contradiction between the handful of ruling 'civilized' nations and the hundreds of millions of the colonial and dependent peoples of the world.
By skillfully utilizing these contradictions, while taking into account the quantitatively but not qualitatively changed situation arising from imperialist globalization, the international communist and workers movement can lead the world's peoples in the defeat of global capitalism and the establishment of world socialism.
THE G.E.-HONEYWELL DEAL
Let us take an example from contemporary headlines regarding the inter-imperialist contradiction – the prevention of the mega-merger between the General Electric Co. and Honeywell International Inc.
Last year the General Electric Co., one of the largest and most influential companies on earth, outbid United Technologies Corp. (UTC) for Honeywell International Inc. United States antitrust authorities then approved the merger. It was expected to be the last and the crowning achievement in the career of Jack Welch, retiring CEO of GE, "the great hero of modern American capitalism." (Time, 7/2/01)
What power on earth could derail this merger between two US based companies which had already received the blessings of the US government, the state apparatus of the one imperialist superpower?! Yet on July 3rd this "All American" deal has apparently been nullified by none other than the competition division of the European Commission in Brussels. (The European Commission is the executive arm of the European Union.)
For more than a decade the commission has claimed jurisdiction over any merger between firms whose combined global sales are more than $4.3 billion and that do at least $215 million of business in the European Union. The GE-Honeywell merger easily qualified. And Mario Monti, the Italian head of the competition division, initially ruled that (unless they dispose of assets way beyond what Welch and his successor as GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt are willing to do) this merger would provide GE with an impermissible monopoly stranglehold on the global market for large aircraft engines. The competition commission as a whole has now endorsed this position.
Once Welch and GE took the position that the E.U.'s conditions for the sale were unacceptable, three US Senators (including Senator John D. Rockefeller!) tried to pressure the European Union. Senator Hollings, the new chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, stated that Monti's decision confirms the idea that the E.C. seeks to "protect and promote European industry at the expense of its U.S. competitors". Hollings warned that "denial of a merger ... would undermine an already strained E.U./U.S. trade relationship." (Ibid) Taking this same theme, the Wall St. Journal and other big business media have emphasized the contradiction between European capital and US capital in this event. But Monti and the EU have still not blinked.
How could this happen?! Lenin taught that, "Imperialism is the epoch of finance capital and of monopolies, which introduce everywhere the striving for domination, not for freedom." How could a rival imperialist power whose military force is subordinate to the military force of the one imperialist super power stop that one imperialist superpower cold?! Does this mean that, in the era of globalization, Lenin's teachings on the nature of imperialism and on the nature of the state, etc. are no longer valid?! That economic development has grown beyond imperialism into the kind of "ultra-imperialism" envisioned by Kautsky and Trotsky almost one hundred years ago?! That somehow imperialism has outgrown its imperialist characteristics of monopoly coercive power inevitably driving toward violence and reaction?!
Lenin observed, "The capitalists divide the world, not out of any particular malice, but because the degree of concentration which has been reached forces them to adopt this method in order to get profits. And they divide it in proportion to 'capital', in proportion to 'strength', because there cannot be any other system of division under commodity production and capitalism. But strength varies with the degree of economic and political development." (ibid)
The General Electric Co. along with UTC's Pratt & Whitney division and Rolls Royce of Britain in effect have maintained a three-member oligopoly controlling the global market for large aircraft engines. Rolls-Royce and UTC (which had tried to purchase Honeywell itself and had been blocked by the GE bid) clearly saw the GE-Honeywell merger as a means for GE to become the dominant force in this market, a means for cutting down or cutting out its rivals. Thus the United States company, UTC, had joined with Rolls-Royce to get the EU to block the GE-Honeywell merger. Also, as Time admitted, "Monti is about the least likely man in Brussels to be motivated by crude anti-Americanism. Indeed, he was offered the job of Foreign Minister in the Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi, conservative America's favorite European." (ibid) Finally, Time writer Michael Elliott admits that "GE competitors opposed to the deal are – like UTC – just as likely to be American as European. Airbus, Europe's flagship aviation company, says it supported the GE-Honeywell deal." (ibid) And, Elliott believes that the only airline that opposed the deal was a US one! More recently, the Wall St. Journal has revealed that UTC’s legal argument and not that of Rolls Royce was the one accepted by the EC of the EU in its decision to block the GE-Honeywell deal.
In fact, in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, (In chapter V "The Division of the World Among Capitalist Combines") Lenin gave a detailed account of various cartels that had been set up globally--in the electrical industry, oil, mercantile shipping, steel, and rail among others. In 1884, in the first attempt at an international rail cartel (among Great Britain, Belgium, and Germany), Lenin reports that joint war was declared by this British-led cartel against a British firm which remained outside the cartel. So the seeming "betrayal" by UTC of its fellow "American" firm is nothing new in the history of monopoly capitalism and imperialism but dates back to its very beginning. In fact, a number of the examples provided by Lenin in this chapter reveal even greater levels of deception, shifting alliances, etc. than that exhibited in the GE-Honeywell fiasco.
The truth about the EU nullification of the GE-Honeywell deal reveals that the nature of imperialism as exposed by Great Lenin has remained fundamentally unchanged with regard to the inter-imperialist contradictions.
What is relatively new and different in this case, in this period when globalization has come to the forefront, is the use of a supra-national authority, the European Union, instead of the authority of the old nation-states (though backed up by their state power) to keep the GE monopolists in line.
THE SEATTLE ANTI-WTO PROTEST
Let us now turn to a well-known contemporary example of the contradiction between labor and capital – the Seattle protests against the US imperialist led World Trade Organization (WTO).
While the protests had a multi-class and international united front character, the majority of the protesters were of US (and white) working class composition. Not only that, but they were from organized labor and some of its most privileged strata! The Seattle events represented the first time in 50 years that a significant section of organized labor in the USA demonstrated opposition to important international policies of the US ruling class. The organized section of the US working class which had tragically been broken away from the rest of the international working class for the past half century and had been allied instead with its own imperialist bourgeoisie began, at long last, with the anti-WTO struggle in Seattle, to break with its own bourgeoisie and make links once again with the rest of the international working class.
What was the catalyst for such a dramatic development? Clearly, there is no proletarian vanguard party and only a teeny-tiny proletarian vanguard force in the USA today. So this new found anti-imperialist sentiment on the part of some of the most privileged members of the US working class was not based on tremendous organizational and educational work on the part of the tiny vanguard.
Could it be that Lenin's teachings on how imperialism splits the international working class are no longer valid?! That the ability of the imperialists in the "handful of 'civilized' countries" to bribe significant sections of "their own" working class based on the national oppression and super-exploitation of the hundreds of millions of colonial and dependent peoples of the world is no longer?! That Lenin's assertion that the essence of imperialism lies in the fundamental distinction between the oppressing and the oppressed nations has been outgrown?! That economic development has grown beyond imperialism into the kind of "ultra-imperialism" envisioned by Kautsky and Trotsky almost one hundred years ago?! And that the US working class is now no longer bribed and brutalized, corrupted and confused, by the ruling class of the one imperialist superpower in today's world?!
None of the above!
What, then, was the catalyst for this decisive change in the conduct of this significant section of privileged US workers? It was precisely the great nation chauvinist poison which all these years had helped keep the US workers in lockstep with the US imperialists which now helped to loosen the political hold of US imperialism over "its own" workers! While "free trade" helped mitigate the job loss of US workers in most industries, shifting this burden onto workers throughout the rest of the world, at the same time, in certain key industries such as steel and textiles, it was US workers who experienced huge job loss under the impetus of imperialist globalization. Just as in general the hegemonic imperialist power, US imperialism, benefited the most from free trade in the 1990’s, while all the other countries in the world suffered to one extent or another from the undermining of protectionism, so in specific industries such as steel and textiles, it was US firms which were similarly harmed by free trade. (This is the reason that racist and reactionary Stedman, the Carolina semi-feudal textile baron, contributed heavily to the petty bourgeois democratic Ralph Nader presidential campaign with its protectionist theme.)
Under the WTO, a panel of three corporate honchos has the power to overthrow the laws of any country if such laws are found to be in restraint of "free trade"! This is how, for example, the US government, on behalf of the US meatpacking and beef industries, was able to compel the European Union countries to accept US beef (with all the growth hormones they contain) into the markets of Europe and into the bodies of the European peoples, despite the EU's effort to bar such beef. This was also how Venezuela, whose powerful oil industry opposed the US Clean Air Act with its mandate for cleaner gas from their refineries, brought this US law before the WTO which decided that the US law did indeed impede free trade. The US Environmental Protection Agency was forced to back off to such an extent that they admitted the "potential for adverse environmental impact." While on the surface this latter example seems to represent another country (and an oppressed nation at that) finally getting the better of the US imperialists, in reality, international finance capital, with the US in the lead, is quite happy to have such US laws overthrown in the interests of maximum profits for the "free traders" of WTO. Thus, the US workers in industries most directly feeling adverse impact from international trade were moved into action against the WTO and its US imperialist led international finance capitalist masters.
[Among the revolutionary proletariat in the USA, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe, proletarian defense of national sovereignty against international capitalist encroachment and domination in the form of the WTO, the World Bank, IMF and other supranational instruments of international finance capital must be carefully framed so as not to become a support for "their own" imperialists and the accompanying great nation and other chauvinisms. Instead they must expose the connections of "their own" imperialist bourgeoisie with WTO, et al, and how it betrays the national sovereignty of their country. It is clear that the fascists in these countries will increasingly try to channel the resentment of the workers in these countries against foreign workers and against "foreign" capitalist encroachment into their national sovereignty, their traditions, culture, etc. etc. while largely concealing the role of their own bourgeoisie and the capitalist system in the process. ]
As dialectical materialists, we know that development of all things proceeds from the unity and struggle of opposites. Imperialist globalization in the form of the WTO has exposed its hostility to the national sovereignty of all countries, even including the USA, when imperialist profits are threatened. This was the condition under which the great nation chauvinism of this privileged section of the US working class turned into its opposite, i.e. it became the springboard for a new infusion of proletarian internationalist sentiment!
As we pointed out at the time, "the AFL-CIO members who protested in Seattle may have come there with great nation-chauvinist and protectionist prejudices. Yet they applauded the many militant speakers they heard representing the working class of the oppressed nations of Asia, Latin America and South Africa as well as of Canada, Europe and Japan. For most of these US workers it was their first glimpse of the power and greatness of proletarian internationalism as well as the burning need for it." In other words, once in motion against their real enemies, international finance capital led by US imperialism, the hearts and minds of these workers were opened as to who are their real friends as well as their real enemies. The efforts of the Seattle police department on behalf of international imperialism to smash the majority US worker composed protests served only to expose the nature of the US state apparatus and to deepen the camaraderie of the US workers with their new found allies among the environmentalists, anarchist youth, anti-imperialists, and trade unionists from countries all over the world.
Here, too, however, as in the case of the inter-imperialist contradiction, it is crucial to understand that the highest and last, dying stage of capitalism, i.e. monopoly capitalism and imperialism, has not fundamentally changed on the question of labor versus capital, and specifically on the split in the international working class movement or "the split in socialism", as Lenin termed it in 1916. (See Lenin’s Imperialism and the Split in Socialism.) Cognizant of continuing power of imperialist bribery of a significant section of the US working class, we warned the proletariat about the treachery of the John Sweeney led AFL-CIO national leadership and its links to Clinton-Gore and US imperialism. The effort of the Clintonites, Sweeney et al to again pit the US workers against the workers of the oppressed nations never ceased for a moment.
In the 12-27-99 issue of The Nation, William Grieder observes that, " In Seattle developing countries were blamed for the rejection of labor rights and environmental protections..." Grieder points out that the media "ignored the plain truth that India, Brazil, and Pakistan could not prevail alone but were joined in opposition by the largest multinationals." Nominally "independent" governments of oppressed nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America which are in reality puppet regimes for US-led international capital have played the "villain" role on labor and environmental rights, allowing Clinton and US imperialism to play the "good guys", "trying to do the right thing". As the Wall Street Journal admitted, "behind the scenes the US runs the show along with its sidekick the European Union."
Of course, US imperialism was not going to allow the US workers to make this dramatic and potentially world shaking political shift without a bitter struggle. US imperialism used President John Sweeney and the other social chauvinist union leaders on the AFL-CIO Executive Council to mislead and mobilize organized union workers to participate in the imperialist sponsored April 12th (2000) China-bashing demonstration. The China-bashing demonstration diverted the 15,000 organized US workers away from the debt relief demonstration of April 9th and the even more ant-imperialist, anti-monopolist demonstration against the World Bank-IMF on April 16th. Thus it broke them away from their new allies discovered in Seattle. And broke the momentum which the participation of significant sections of organized labor on April 9th and especially April 16th would have represented.
More importantly, the April 12th "No Blank Check for China" demonstration successfully pitted the US section of the international working class against the Chinese section of the class and the rest of the international working class, once again making the US working class an ally of its own worst enemy-imperialism, headed by US imperialism. Sweeney et al were able to use the anti-WTO, anti-Clinton momentum of the Seattle spirit to rally the workers to the great nation chauvinist protectionist position ("anti-China") on April 12th, objectively weakening the international working class opposition to WTO, and paving the way to a US imperialist victory (pro WTO) on May 24th! The "Republicrats" in Congress were now strong enough to pass the May 24th resolution, on behalf of US imperialism, providing Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China. Thus the demonstration accomplished the exact opposite of what the workers intended!!
To some extent, then, the US imperialists with the aid of their "labor lieutenants" as well as revisionists and Trotskyites and social democratic liquidationists and liberals, in short, petty bourgeois democracy, were able to disrupt the developing proletarian internationalist momentum among the US working class. Imperialist bribery is still a fact of life among the working class in the USA and it will take a protracted struggle to win the US working class to link up firmly with the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Yet "the genie is out of the bottle". And this April (2001) in Quebec, along with perhaps 50 thousand Canadian workers, several thousand US workers protested against the impending Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a new super NAFTA with secret corporate authority (a la WTO) over every nation in the Western Hemisphere other than Cuba. And as we pointed out in the immediate wake of the 1999 Seattle protest – "Whatever the zigs and zags of the struggle, henceforth any sell-out trade union leaders, – in the USA, Europe, Japan, or anywhere else - will have much greater difficulty openly opposing and red-baiting those of us in the trade union movement who agitate and organize around proletarian internationalism. Concrete trade union links, along the lines pushed by the KMU, the leading trade union movement in the Phillippines, are on the order of the day." And indeed a strand of proletarian internationalist sentiment can now be found interwoven with the chauvinism and protectionism of some of the most reactionary labor sell-outs in the USA.
We also observed that "this still relatively privileged section of the US working class has discovered allies among environmentalists, anarchist youth, anti-imperialist national minority workers, and representatives of trade unions from other countries whom they cheered and marched with. Now that their eyes have begun to open, the task of the workers vanguard in the USA is to help deepen all these alliances while concentrating on solidarity among the international working class as the focal point of the alliance. For the WTO represents in the first place, the effort of the international capitalist class to exercise dictatorship over the international working class. And the international working class must answer with its own international struggle for power."
Finally we stated, "In conclusion, the struggle continues-on both sides. There is no doubt that US led international capital will continue to negotiate among themselves as best they can with all their internal contradictions to try to achieve maximum unity of the exploiters over the exploited. They will continue to use and try to expand the WTO. They have the IMF and the World Bank. They have not given up NATO, the EU, the UNO, NAFTA, APEC, etc. Nor have they disbanded the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bildeberg Group, the Cecil Rhodes Group, et al.
On our side, the international communist movement will have to struggle for maximum unity of the international working class and for working class unity with the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. For the proletarian revolutionary cause one significant question is, will the working class of the USA be won back to the side of Clinton and US imperialism on the basis of protectionism, legalism, and great-nation chauvinism? Or will the US workers continue the journey, only just begun, away from the fatal embrace of their own imperialists and into the arms of their brothers and sisters of all lands-the international proletariat.? Or will they be stalled half-way by the vacillation of petty bourgeois leaders of organized labor (Sweeney et al), "the labor lieutenants of the capitalist class", and the petty bourgeois milieu of the environmental movement?
Thus, with regard to the contradiction between labor and capital under imperialist globalization, solidarity among the international working class is the focal point of the alliance.
THE EMERGENCE OF PROLETARIAN LEADERSHIP OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLES OF THE OPPRESSED PEOPLES OF ASIA, AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA
Let us turn now to how imperialist globalization impacts the contradiction between the national democratic revolutions centered in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and imperialism, headed by US imperialism on the other. Proletarian leadership and coordination of these revolutionary national liberation movements is more clearly needed and more attainable under imperialist globalization.
Finally, let us indicate the general direction that our presentation is going in:
GLOBALIZATION AND THE NATIONAL QUESTION.
Our thesis is that, with regard to the national question and specifically the issue of national sovereignty, imperialist globalization in the form of IMF, WB, EU, WTO, FTAA, et al. provide the revolutionary proletariat with a new opportunity to mobilize the people to the maximum while isolating the imperialist enemy to the maximum. What will make it more difficult for the comrades to accept this thesis is that it is precisely around the national question that the cause of world comm. has floundered in the past half century.
In 1968 in The Role of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the International Marxist-Leninist Movement: The October Revolution versus the Cultural Revolution as Youth for Stalin we observed the following:
"Since the death of Stalin, the two main characteristics of the international situation have been (1) the intensification of the contradiction between the oppressed nations and US imperialism; and (2) the development of a policy in most socialist countries of betrayal of the oppressed nations based on the ascendancy of the national bourgeois class in the socialist countries."
"Both characteristics involve the national question! While defending one’s socialist country is a grave and noble duty in the imperialist world and a difficult task today, the comrades from Cuba, Korea, Laos, etc. have the complementary duty of ensuring that the socialist country is not an end in itself as Stalin taught but a means for supporting the emancipation of all the world’s oppressed and exploited peoples. Stalin added that there was a tremendous pressure on comrades in this situation to surrender to the path of least resistance, the path of nationalism. All the more so is it incumbent on comrades from other parties and groups to provide critical support and defense but not to patronize the comrades from what remains of the socialist camp."
As comrade Liu Shao-chi observed in Internationalism and Nationalism in 1948: "If, after their own nation has rid itself of imperialist oppression, the Communists descend to a position of bourgeois nationalism, carrying out a policy of national self-interest and sacrificing the common international interests of the working people of all the nations of the world and of the proletariat to the interests of the upper strata of their own nation; if they not only fail to oppose imperialism but on the contrary rely on imperialist aid to carry out aggression against other nations, and oppressing them, or opposing proletarian internationalism with national conservatism, reject the international solidarity of the proletariat and the working people and oppose the Socialist Soviet Union – then all this is also a betrayal of the proletariat and of Communism, which helps the international imperialists, and makes these traitors themselves a pawn of the imperialists. The Tito group in Yugoslavia is now taking this path."
The imperialist globalization of recent years has not altered but only underscored the truth that we are still in the era of imperialism and the unfolding proletarian revolution, the era of Leninism. Great Lenin taught that the essence of imperialism lies in the fundamental distinction between the oppressing and the oppressed nations. And the Third Communist International correctly projected the strategic alliance of the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples in a common front against imperialism. Such a strategic alliance is still on the order of the day.
As representatives of the strategic interests of the US proletariat we have been painfully well aware that for the past fifty years most of the US working class has supported "our own" imperialists, US imperialism, our own main enemy, against our best friends, the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is only in the past few years, since the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization, that the US section of the international proletariat is finally showing the first signs of reuniting with the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples.
In Imperialism – The Highest Stage of Capitalism (Chapter 6), Lenin observed that, ".... finance capital and its corresponding foreign policy...gives rise to a number of transitional forms of national dependence. The division of the world into two main groups – of colony-owning countries on the one hand and colonies on the other – is not the only typical feature of this period; there is also a variety of forms of dependent countries; countries which, officially, are politically independent, but which are, in fact, enmeshed in the net of financial and diplomatic dependence."
In our view, for more than fifty years, since the victorious conclusion of the war against fascism, led by Stalin, the CPSU(B), and the heroic Soviet peoples, the focal contradiction in the world has been between the oppressed peoples centered in Asia, Africa, and Latin America fighting for national democratic revolution and socialism, on the one hand, and imperialism, headed by US imperialism on the other. We believe this is still the case today.
Great Stalin's report to the 19th CPSU Congress in 1952 (his last) contains an important admonition for the comrades of today. Stalin said, "Formerly, the bourgeoisie was regarded as the head of the nation; it upheld the rights and independence of the nation and placed them 'above all else'. Now not a trace remains of the 'national principle'. Now the bourgeoisie sells the rights and independence of the nation for dollars. The banner of national independence and national sovereignty has been thrown overboard. There is no doubt that it is you, the representatives of the communist and democratic parties, who will have to raise this banner and carry it forward, if you want to be patriots to your country, if you want to become the leading force of the nation."
The strong emergence of imperialist globalization with its open assault on national sovereignty everywhere makes Stalin's advice even more timely for the proletarian revolutionary movement today. This is most immediately applicable in the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. And here, Mao’s teachings on protracted peoples war under proletarian leadership are of vital importance.
With regard to the entire international proletariat in addition to Stalin's observation, we add only the encouragement that Lenin's teachings on the two-stage revolution be taken into account and applied to the variety of stages of dependence, and national sovereignty, to the differing significance of the peasantry, and the different topography of our respective countries, and the variety of forms of national and class struggle inter-relations that flow from the objective situation in our respective countries and the world.
On this basis, the world's communists can mobilize the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples to defeat imperialist globalization and win proletarian power.
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