Statement of the Anti-Imperialist Platform: How the KKE uses Marxist terminology to cover its retreat from Marxism
The party of the Greek revolution has objectively transformed itself into an agent of imperialism, both nationally and internationally (1).
On the basis of a Marxist analysis of the rapidly escalating imperialist war drive, anti-imperialists of the communist movement came together last year to form the World Anti-imperialist Platform. This was done in order to apply our energies to what has been identified as the most pressing priority facing our movement at this moment: to rally the widest possible forces in support of the struggle against the US-led imperialist bloc – a struggle which has the potential to unleash the next, decisive wave of socialist revolutions if correctly approached.
Launched in Paris last year, the Platform’s founding statement outlines the tasks that we believe all socialists and anti-imperialists must focus on during this crucial period of crisis and war. To help mobilise forces for this struggle, a part of the work the Platform engages in is necessarily in the ideological arena – opposing and exposing the wrong ideas (in particular the idea that Russia and China are imperialist countries) that are confusing and demobilising workers, preventing them from joining wholeheartedly in the struggle against the US-led imperialist war drive and in support of the targets of US-led imperialist aggression.
This stance has brought the Platform into conflict with the anti-Marxist position of the Greek communist party (the KKE), which has been vociferous in condemning it in the most blood-curdling terms, condemning as ‘opportunist’ and ‘reactionary’ every organisation that has taken part in Platform activities or signed the Paris Declaration, and using every means at its disposal to disrupt and sabotage our work.
The so-called ‘theory’ of the pyramid
It is important to realise that this dispute over the correct analysis of the present war is not an abstract one. As followers of scientific socialism, we understand that without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary practice. Without establishing a correct understanding, it is impossible for socialists to act in ways that benefit the workers’ cause; to work out which actions will lead to the development of the revolutionary forces and to the defeat of our enemies.
Without a correct theory, the working-class movement has no guide to effective action; it slips automatically into practices that can be safely contained within the parameters of bourgeois politics. This is why wrong theories must be vigorously opposed by communists – the victory of the correct line is a prerequisite for the victory of the revolution. The whole history of the Bolshevik revolution provided ample proof of this fact.
So what is the theoretical position being put forward by the Greek communist party? And what activity does it lead to in practice?
First, the KKE’s new theory of the ‘imperialist pyramid’ bases itself on the incorrect assertion that every economy in which trade takes place and commodities are produced is a capitalist economy.
At a stroke this vulgarisation negates the Marxist historical understanding of the development of commodities; the understanding that capitalism is the stage of human social development in which commodity production is the dominant form of production. It ignores the fact that commodities have been produced since the time of the earliest class societies: that they existed in slave-owning and feudal societies, and that they will continue to exist for some time to come in socialist society. The KKE’s leaders inform us that anyone who produces something for sale on the market, whether internal or external, anyone who uses money, is a capitalist.
And they follow this vulgarisation with another and even more problematic one. They tell us that, since capitalism globally has now entered its monopoly phase (as demonstrated by Lenin); since capitalist production tends everywhere towards concentration and towards monopoly (as demonstrated by Marx, Engels and Lenin), then every capitalist country in the modern era is also an imperialist one (as firmly rebutted by Lenin) (2).
This, we are told, goes as much for the capitalists of Burkina Faso as for the capitalists of the USA. Apparently, the desire to grow one’s capital reveals a desire to become an imperialist – and this desire is all that counts. According to the theory of the ‘pyramid’, every country that engages in trade, from Great Britain and France to Cuba and the DPRK, is guilty of imperialism – the various states of the world simply occupying different levels on the great global ‘pyramid’ of imperialism.
According to this travesty of Marxism, the contradictions between the various countries are all ‘interimperialist’, to be explained by their competing imperialist interests and the desire to displace one another from the top of the ‘pyramid’ of world imperialism. Such a definition, we should note, includes within its scope even the Soviet Union of JV Stalin’s time.
Again, with one stroke of the pen, and without a shred of evidence to back up its wild claims, the KKE ‘theorists’ have vulgarised and distorted the Leninist concepts regarding the monopoly control of the global economy and interimperialist rivalry until their fundamental essence has totally disappeared.
In true opportunist style, the KKE’s theoreticians have picked a few random truths taken from Lenin’s work on imperialism and, by robbing them of all context, turned them into a hollow and empty dogma which explains nothing and enlightens nobody.
Lenin’s material description of the global monopoly-capitalist economy revealed how a handful of dominant powers are able to use their financial, technological and military power to exploit and oppress the vast majority of nations. In place of this many-sided picture, with its historical development, overarching features, trends of development and glaring contradictions, the KKE has extracted one or two truths in such a way as to void them of all meaning.
Capitalism tends to monopoly says Lenin. Yes indeed. Now we are in the monopoly stage, all capitalism is imperialist says the KKE. 2+2=5, in fact. By this sleight of hand, the authors of this theory have presented us with the picture of a world in which imperialism, having been found in every country, is thus to be found nowhere.
Without explaining how they have done so, without a shred of evidence to justify overturning the Leninist conception of the present global system of extreme exploitation and inequality between nations, which Lenin himself described as “basic, significant and inevitable under imperialism” (3), the creators of this theory have disappeared what they contemptuously refer to as the “so-called ‘national question’ [note the quotation marks!]”.
When and how the fundamental question of the liberation of the oppressed nations from their superexploited position as providers of superprofits to the parasitical monopoly financiers of the imperialist heartlands stopped being a real issue and became merely a ‘so-called’ issue, the authors of this profundity do not trouble to explain.
This is a particularly serious error considering how Anglo-American imperialism stepped up its campaign of wars for domination of all countries after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The ensuing ‘unipolar moment’ of the ‘world’s policeman’ was a period of classical neocolonialism; of imperialism seeking domination (not democracy) over all the less developed, non-monopolist nations that lacked the technological, financial and military power to resist.
In the name of Leninism, claiming to see monopoly everywhere, the KKE has obscured our vision of the actual, historically-evolved global monopolist powers – those countries whose real, historically-accumulated stores of capital enable them to use their monopolistic power to control governments and economies all over the world, and to continuously extract tribute from the world’s masses – under a welter of imaginary ‘monopolists’.
They have transformed the materialist conception of the world economy into a kind of idealist identity politics: you are a monopolist because you would like to be one; you are a monopolist because you are a capitalist in the era of monopoly; you are a monopolist because you run a sector of the state economy without competition, even if that sector happens to be run under the direction of a socialist or people-oriented nation-liberation government!
At the same time, they have also reduced communism to an identity. Communists of the KKE-approved type are no longer people who study socialist science in order to bring its powerful truths to the masses and help provide leadership and direction to the revolutionary movement for liberation and socialism, but simply people who hate capitalists – and who prove this by wearing the right badge, t-shirt and cap, being a loyal supporter of the right team, and chanting the right slogans against the appointed enemy.
Such ‘communists’ are now to be found all over the western world. They no longer have a positive role to play in the transformation of society; in the evolution of history. Instead they have transformed themselves into eternal ‘oppositionism’: ‘anticapitalists’ who will never overthrow capitalism; ‘antiwar activists’ who will never stop a war; ‘antiracists’ or ‘anti-sexists’ who will never do anything that threatens the real, economic roots of racism or sexism.
In the name of Lenin, the KKE and their kind have in fact put Lenin’s epoch-defining teachings and revolutionary practice against imperialism into the dustbin.
NGO-isation of the working-class movement
We appear to be witnessing in the KKE a particularly striking example of the modern phenomenon of the NGO-isation of the left, in which professional machineries are created whose primary function is not to gather and train the forces for revolution, but merely to recreate and maintain the machine. These organisations must remain ‘radical’ enough to garner a certain percentage of working-class votes, and to win a certain number of elected positions, but not so radical as to bring down the retribution of the ruling class’s state machinery onto their heads.
Fundamentally, in order to maintain their machineries and their hard-won place in the political life of their countries, such parties must not rock the boat of bourgeois politics. Some letting off of steam – a pressure valve for working-class anger – is acceptable, even necessary, but no action that seriously calls into question the status quo or undermines the bourgeois order can be attempted. Any such action would be bound to bring punishment to the party – starting with media blackouts and leading on to vilification of party leaders and policies, hounding of members, and eventually to the party’s outlawing, the confiscation of buildings and bank accounts, and the persecution, arrest or exile of its leaders as the economic and war crises escalate and domestic political stability is undermined.
This retreat from revolution into ‘oppositionism’ is not a new phenomenon, it is simply the latest reflection of the split in the working class and the assimilation of its leadership into the bourgeois state machinery that has been going on in various forms since the early 1900s (4). Nor is it confined in our day to the KKE. Something similar has taken place in many parties of a certain size during the recent period, when the ebb of the tide of revolution and the theoretical degeneration of the communist movement combined to create a sense of pessimism and defeat.
That the KKE is one of those parties that epitomises this transformation and retreat is evidenced by the professionalisation of its core cadres – not in the Leninist tradition of workers who have been freed up to devote their lives to revolutionary activity but in a spirit of bureaucratisation and careerism. The main criteria for such workers is not deep study and selfless devotion to serving the masses, but groupthink, willingness to carry out the busywork of machine-maintenance, and unquestioning (unthinking) loyalty to a leadership that is taking the party – and the workers under its influence – in entirely the wrong direction.
Exporting opportunism and sectarianism
The retreat into opportunism (5) by the KKE – a party with a great revolutionary tradition, with a mass base, and with a long-established position in the political, social and cultural life of the Greek people – is a terrible blow to the class struggle in that country. The more firmly its leaders stick to their erroneous line and vilify all those who sincerely try to bring them back onto the revolutionary path, the more certain it becomes that the working people will have to form a new party in order to lead their struggle for social liberation.
This is indeed a great setback; a tragedy for the Greek working people who have suffered and struggled so hard for so long.
But the actions of the KKE do not stop at the borders of Greece. Using its international prestige as the inheritor of the Greek revolution; using its impressive professionalism, its strength in numbers and its financial power, the KKE has been systematically injecting its anti-Marxist muddle (‘theory’) everywhere it has influence. It has been assisted in this by the theoretical confusion that prevails in much of our movement, which is a legacy of the revisionism of the post-Stalin USSR and the Sino-Soviet split, and which helps it to promote its militant-seeming but anti-materialist line everywhere – even going so far as to use bribery, threats, coercion and manipulation to get its way, or at least to disrupt the work of those who won’t go meekly along with its agenda.
In many parties, themselves sunk into a morass of social-democratic oppositionism, these false friends have been knocking at an open door. Such parties as the Communist Party of Britain or the Communist Party of Mexico, for example, are led by those who are only too happy to be given a revolutionary-sounding justification for abandoning the difficult positions of the class war and echoing Nato propaganda – in particular the propaganda about Russian or Chinese ‘imperialism’, ‘expansionism’, ‘aggression’ etc.
In other cases, the KKE has used its controlling influence in the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WDFY) to manipulate young members against the elders of their parties. In still others, it has used its extensive network of international officers to cultivate strong personal relationships with international secretaries and tried to use them as the promoters of its anti-worker line. Confusion, inner-party warfare and splits have been the result in communist parties all over the world.
The case of Spain is well-known to all. Other operations, from Pakistan to Poland, from Mexico to the USA, from Germany to Switzerland, are talked about more quietly. But no one who operates in the international communist movement is unaware of at least some of the stories of Greek sectarian interference and subversion.
What is the practical outcome of the so-called ‘theory’ of the pyramid?
The practical effect on the policy of parties that have accepted this line is to characterise the present conflict in Ukraine as one between two imperialist powers in which the working class has no side.
And since every country that produces commodities for trade is described as ‘imperialist’, future wars even between the DPRK or China and the USA will likewise be characterised as ‘interimperialist’.
To tell the workers such lies at such a moment is a criminal act, which amplifies imperialist war propaganda and demobilises the antiwar movement.
It is to place the communists, who should be at the heart and the front of the anti-imperialist antiwar movement, giving it practical steel and theoretical clarity, onto the sidelines. No simultaneous calls for ‘working-class unity’ can cover the true, wrecking nature of such activities.
In place of working-class unity against imperialism, their call is for ‘a plague on both your houses’ – for inactivity and passivity.
As Lenin wrote in 1916: “War is often useful in exposing what is rotten and discarding the conventionalities.” The conventional assumption that the KKE is a leading revolutionary communist party must be discarded and its rottenness recognised and responded to.
At its heart, the KKE’s ‘Leninist’ pyramid is a reinvention of Trotskyism.
Like Trotsky, the promoters of this ‘theory’ refuse to recognise the imperialist reality of oppressed and oppressor nations.
Like Trotsky, they refuse to recognise the need to unify the proletarian struggle in the imperialist countries with the anti-imperialist struggle in the oppressed nations.
Like Trotsky, they refuse to see the revolutionary potential in any class other than the proletariat.
Like Trotsky, they refuse get their hands dirty with any alliance that might allow them to take a concrete step towards the goal of socialism, which thus remains an abstract, unattainable dream.
Like Trotsky, they cover their reinforcing of imperialist propaganda against all anti-imperialist leaders and movements with revolutionary-sounding phrases about working-class solidarity.
Like Trotsky, they have converted themselves, whether willingly or by accident, into vehicles for spreading imperialist propaganda within our movement.
Given the persistent, aggressive and determined pursuit of this disorganising line, and the vitriolic ad hominem attacks on all those who try to show the working class why such a line is a political error, we can only conclude that the KKE’s leaders have fully committed themselves to the camp of opportunism. More than that, they have become the ringleaders of that camp – the organisers and directors of the section of our movement that works to hold back the struggle of the international working class for revolutionary anti-imperialist unity, and thus holds back our struggle for socialism.
A false analogy in place of concrete analysis
In their own documents, and in the those of their adherents, the proposers of this anti-Marxian ‘theory’ like to compare Nato’s present proxy war against Russia on the territory of Ukraine with the first world war, describing it as an ‘interimperialist’ conflict between two monopolist powers over control of resources, markets and avenues of superexploitation. Indeed, in a speech to a party meeting last year, former KKE leader Aleka Papariga went even further, declaring that the “people of Ukraine” (that is, the neo-nazi proxy government headed by US-backed actor-stooge Volodymyr Zelensky) were waging a “just war” against “Russian aggression”.
How this assertion squares with the party’s avowal elsewhere that the (‘so-called’) national question no longer exists will require wiser heads than ours to decipher. Nor can such a statement be squared with the KKE’s assertion that the war in Ukraine is an ‘inter-imperialist’ one! Perhaps the KKE has different lines to present to different audiences?
Likewise, how this assertion differs from the imperialists’ claims that they are innocently (‘justly’) ‘defending Ukraine’s sovereignty with Nato weapons’ (a sovereignty the USA had been steadily eroding for three decades and fully usurped nine years ago), only the KKE can explain.
Lenin pointed out in 1915 that “no socialist will dare in theory deny the necessity of making a concrete, historical appraisal of every war”. But the KKE’s ‘theoreticians’ have made no such appraisal – they have merely made an analogy with WW1 with no substantiating evidence to back up their ahistorical assertion.
No systematic detailed proof has been given for the characterisation of Russia’s economy as ‘imperialist’, just as no systematic detailed proof has been given for the same claim that is made about China, Brazil, India – and even Iran and Venezuela. No concrete, historical appraisal has been made to demonstrate how these countries live by exporting capital, superexploiting the globe, and repatriating the superprofits thus earned back to their home territories. No evidence has been provided to show how these nations live by ‘clipping coupons’ from such parasitic activity. No evidence has been given to show how the workers of these countries are bribed into social peace by means of the crumbs they receive from such monopoly profits.
To date, the only facts and figures quoted by the KKE in defence of its ridiculous position have been cherry-picked at random to throw a sop to the credulous. This is at one with their entire methodology, where sprinkled quotations of Lenin are substituted for a serious study of the entire body of works by Marx, Engels and Lenin. Of course, from 95 such volumes, a few quotations taken at random and out of context might appear to prove anything, but only the insincere sophist argues in this way.
The presentation of a few random statistics in support of such serious assertions is not a meaningful attempt to understand the Ukraine war in all its complexity, but eclecticism that obscures the truth; a classic case of searching online for ‘evidence’ to prove a predetermined point. Such ‘analysis’ brings forcibly to mind Lenin’s description of similar practices that were being indulged in by former eminent Marxists such as Georgy Plekhanov and Karl Kautsky during WW1:
“From the standpoint of Marxism … one can merely smile at the ‘scientific’ value of such methods as taking the concrete historical assessment of the war [or of a nation’s economy in the KKE’s case] to mean a random selection of facts which the ruling classes of the country find gratifying or convenient, facts taken at random from diplomatic ‘documents’, current political developments, etc [or from bourgeois press clippings]. The scientific concept of imperialism, moreover, is reduced to a sort of term of abuse applied to the immediate competitors, rivals and opponents of the two imperialists mentioned [or of the US-led Nato imperialist bloc] …”
Similarities and differences between the world wars
On one point, however, the KKE is certainly correct: the present war, which will no doubt be looked back on as the opening of World War 3, has been brought about, just as were the first and second world wars, by the deep overproduction crisis of the global capitalist economy.
In 1914, two imperialist blocs faced one another and fought over who should have what share of the world’s territories and markets. It was a purely interimperialist war. And it fatally weakened the global imperialist system, bringing about the era of proletarian revolution, just as Lenin had predicted. World War 1 led directly to the October Revolution of 1917 – and the global capitalist-imperialist system has been living on borrowed time ever since.
In 1939, the war that was already being fought in several theatres around the world (eg, Spain and China) transformed into a global conflict with the entry of British imperialism against Germany. This, too, was an interimperialist conflict over control of territories and resources on the part of Germany, France and Britain. But the German invasion of the USSR, and the Soviets’ strategic manoeuvring of the USA and Britain into forming an alliance, changed the character of World War 2, so that its primary character became that of an antifascist war.
It was on this basis that workers in the imperialist countries were mobilised to fight on the same side as their rulers: to defeat the fascist threat and defend the Soviet socialist motherland. Britain, France and the USA continued to pursue their imperialist aims, but they were induced to do so in a way that prevented them from joining with Nazi Germany to destroy the USSR. As a result, the Soviet Union was able, at a tremendous cost to itself, to defeat the greatest war machine humanity had ever seen, to liberate much of Europe, and to give a tremendous impulse to the spread of socialism across Europe and Asia.
After WW2, with the imperial powers of old Europe and Japan fatally weakened, unable any longer to maintain their military and technological dominance, the imperialist powers huddled together under the protective umbrella of the USA – the only imperialist power whose economy, productive capacity and military capability had been strengthened by WW1 and WW2 rather than weakened. Without the financial backing and military support of the USA, the imperialists of Europe and Japan could not have survived – they would have been expropriated and displaced by the rising workers, and the triumphant march of socialism would have been pretty well unstoppable.
But history never moves in a straight line. Life did not follow the confident predictions of the communist and anti-imperialist liberation fighters of the 1940s. The help of the USA (6) combined with powerful bribes to their own working-class populations (7) allowed the weakened imperialist powers to recover to a certain extent, while the revisionism of the post-Stalin USSR and parties aligned with it led to the slow undermining of the strength and prestige of socialism and to the ultimate collapse of the revisionist Soviet regime.
The dissolution of the world’s first socialist state and of the people’s democracies of eastern Europe came at a vital moment for the imperialists, who were once more facing a severe global crisis of overproduction. They were saved by the orgy of imperialist looting that ensued as the wealth of the Soviet and east European peoples was plundered, while the masses of the world were further demoralised by the apparent triumph of bourgeois politics and economics over Marxism.
But while the Soviet Union and European people’s democracies were dissolved, socialism and anti-imperialism did not disappear from the world. China, the DPRK, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba continued to defend their socialist societies in the face of huge pressure. Countries that were targeted by a newly-confident imperialist camp for ‘regime-change’ operations mounted tremendous resistance. And Russia, which for a time had allowed itself to be ruled by comprador agents of imperialism, got up off its knees, replaced its comprador leadership with a national-bourgeois one, and determined that it would henceforth use its vast resources for its own purposes, defending its right to national sovereignty by making use of the technological, military, educational and economic base that had been bequeathed to it by its Soviet builders.
In the face of a renewed global crisis of overproduction, the imperialists have determined that, in the present conditions, their best chance of saving themselves and their system remains in huddling together under the military and economic leadership of the USA and aiming their combined force at the destruction of the primary centres of independence and sovereignty in the world – Russia and China. In doing so, they hope to bring about a repeat of the carnival of pillaging they enjoyed after the collapse of the USSR. They want to break Russia and China into pieces, subdue their peoples and plunder their considerable resources.
Thus we can see that the third world war will be primarily characterised by a confrontation between the camps of imperialism (8) and anti-imperialism. And that the workers of the world have everything to gain by ensuring the victory of the anti-imperialist camp and the defeat of the imperialists, which will be a hammer blow to the entire edifice of monopoly capitalism on the planet and thus a giant step towards socialist revolution in all corners of the world.
In promoting this understanding, our comrades of the World Anti-imperialist Platform have been accused of the crime of ‘social-chauvinism’; of calling for the victory of one imperialist power over another, as the social democrats so notoriously did a century ago. A moment’s reflection will reveal the hollowness of this parallel, however. The call of communists in Britain, France, Italy and the USA for the defeat of Nato imperialism cannot at all be equated with the treachery of the social democrats of 1914, who mobilised workers to fight in defence of their own rulers’ empires.
War and the split in socialism
In one respect only is the KKE’s analogy with 1914 correct. The outbreak of the first world war revealed the deep split that had been developing in the socialist movement during the ‘peaceful’ decades leading up to the war. In developing the working class’s struggle for socialism in Russia, Lenin placed huge importance on exposing and opposing the rottenness of the opportunist wing of our movement and bringing together the revolutionary sections from each country into a common struggle.
This work, begun at the Zimmerwald conference of 1915, was one of the cornerstones of the Bolsheviks’ success in 1917, and it was the basis of the formation of the world communist movement and the revolutionary third international (the Comintern), under whose guidance the world’s workers were able to advance so successfully.
The present war in Ukraine has likewise drawn a line around the world and revealed a deep split in the socialist movement.
The Platform has every intention of following the great example set to us by Comrade Lenin. From him we have learned the vital importance of fighting for revolutionary ideology at a time of world economic crisis and war; at a time when the imperialists are doing everything possible to divert the anger and confuse the minds of the immiserated masses.
Let workers and oppressed peoples everywhere understand: this is not an abstract question of armchair theorising, but a fight for a correct understanding of our concrete conditions in order to allow us to determine the form that our practical activities should take. And this practical work is a matter of life and death for our movement and for humanity. Let us be in no doubt: the victory of the imperialist camp over the anti-imperialist countries would set back the cause of liberation and socialism by 20, 30 or even 40 years – with all the attendant misery, death and destruction.
This is why we must expose and oppose the rotten theory and activity of the KKE and others like them, who have transformed themselves into the agents of imperialist ideology in the working-class movement.
This is why we must do everything in our power to unite the forces of anti-imperialism, providing them with a correct understanding so that they are able to identify who are their friends and who are their enemies at this crucial moment in history; so that they are able to form the strongest possible alliance in order to achieve victory in the crucial battles that are coming.
One last point on the question of the international communist movement must also be made. We are being accused of ‘splitting the movement’ by attacking the KKE. But we cannot split what is not whole. Our movement is already deeply divided. Indeed, it has been for many decades.
The present war has revealed not only the deep divide within our movement generally but also the absolute rottenness of the group of parties clustered around the KKE and the futility of expecting anything useful to come to the working class from trying to preserve ‘unity’ with such elements – with individuals and organisations that have clearly shown themselves to be on the side of the imperialist camp.
Once again, we call to mind the words of Lenin, when he described the betrayals and rottenness of the majority of leaders of the Second International during World War 1: “This contradiction [between the revolutionary words and opportunist deeds of the social-democratic leaders] was a boil which just had to burst, and burst it has.
“Is it worth trying, as Kautsky and co are doing, to force the pus back into the body for the sake of ‘unity’ (with the pus), or should the pus be removed as quickly and thoroughly as possible, regardless of the pang of pain caused by the process, to help bring about the complete recovery of the body of the labour movement?”
Further: “The split in the labour and socialist movements throughout the world is a fact. We have two irreconcilable working-class tactics and policies in respect of the war. It is ridiculous to close your eyes to this fact. Any attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable will make all our work futile.”
While the KKE talks emptily about ‘class solidarity’, about ‘Leninism’, and about some future revolution that it has no practical programme for achieving, a real revolutionary crisis is developing and spreading all over the world which is being either ignored or condemned by the KKE and its ilk. The overproduction crisis of the global capitalist-imperialist economy is at its root, and the war drive, impelled by this economic crisis, is accelerating its development.
This is not the moment to stand on the sidelines wagging our fingers at everyone who tries to act, nor is it the moment to try to reconcile what is irreconcilable. The task of socialists is to explain, clearly and fearlessly, that the US-led Nato bloc is trying to save its blood-drenched system at the expense of the workers of the world. That the oppressed, independent and socialist countries are increasingly banding together to resist their onslaught, and that this movement is to be welcomed, supported and enhanced in every way possible.
As Lenin said: “War inflicts horrible sufferings on the people, but we must not, and we have no reason at all, to despair of the future.”
The coming conflicts will undoubtedly be hard; they will undoubtedly require much struggle and sacrifice from the workers and oppressed peoples everywhere. But we have a bright future waiting for us on the other side, if only we are prepared to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to ensuring a decisive victory against the decadent, parasitic, moribund imperialist world order.
(1) An early draft of this article was published by mistake and withdrawn for finalising. While its essential analysis was correct, our opponents read it and took umbrage at the blunt way in which some of the points were made. Feeling offended about being called ‘agents of imperialism’, they are indignant about our ‘lack of evidence’.
Of course, in the legal sense, they are right. We have no conclusive evidence of malintent, nor are we in any position to properly investigate such a charge. In many cases, evidence of crimes against our movement many not emerge until after a successful revolution, when the workers have taken hold of the state’s secret archives.
The political point, however, is that whether the leaders of the KKE are acting deliberately or accidentally, ‘in good faith’, against the interests of the proletariat is immaterial. As Lenin pointed out in 1920: “As far as the individual is concerned, there is a very great difference between a man whose weakness of character makes him a traitor and one who is a deliberate, calculating traitor; but in politics there is no such difference, because politics involves the actual fate of millions of people, and it makes no difference whether the millions of workers and poor peasants are betrayed by those who are traitors from weakness of character or by those whose treachery pursues selfish aims” (https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/feb/14.htm, section 2).
(2) In his article ‘The revolutionary proletariat and the right of nations to self-determination’, rebutting the idea put forward by Karl Radek (Parabellum) that imperialism had made the national question redundant, Lenin stressed that the focal point of any communist programme “must be that division of nations into oppressor and oppressed which forms the essence of imperialism, and is deceitfully evaded by the social-chauvinists and Kautsky … This we demand, not independently of our revolutionary struggle for socialism, but because this struggle will remain a hollow phrase if it is not linked up with a revolutionary approach to all questions of democracy, including the national question” (October 1015).
(3) Later in the same year Lenin again wrote: “Imperialism is the epoch in which the division of nations into oppressors and oppressed is essential and typical” (‘The Peace Programme’, March 1916). Indeed, this understanding of the fundamental essence of the imperialist system was at the core of the Bolsheviks’ successful revolutionary strategy and tactics.
(4) The revisionist communist parties have been firmly attached to the left wing of social democracy ever since the postwar period. From that time until today, displacing the workers from the revolutionary path has been the main function of the public face of bourgeois politics (as opposed to the real business of ruling the country that goes on behind closed doors). The European Union, as an imperialist entity with huge resources, has magnified the funds and organisational mechanisms available for the corruption of Europe’s working-class parties.
(5) Opportunism: the selling out of the long-term interests of the movement for short-term gains, real or perceived, political or personal. “All Marxists in Germany, France, and other countries have always stated and insisted that opportunism is a manifestation of the bourgeoisie’s influence over the proletariat” (‘Opportunism, and the Collapse of the Second International’ by VI Lenin, December 1915).
(6) Help which included the Marshall plan to finance west European reconstruction, the division of Germany, the overthrow of communist forces in western Europe, and assistance in a string of neocolonial wars in Malaya, Korea, Vietnam, Angola and elsewhere aimed at retarding the wave of national-liberation victories.
(7) The granting of welfare states which persuaded workers in the west that they could enjoy the advantages of socialism without having to make a socialist revolution.
(8) The US-led Nato alliance in most of the world, supplemented by the US-led ‘triple alliance’ of the USA, Japan and south Korea in east Asia, which has been dubbed the ‘Nato of the east’, and which may well be subsumed into Nato as the war drive progresses and more European countries are persuaded to send military hardware into the Pacific, even as Japan and south Korea have been persuaded to send military supplies to Ukraine.