We wish to warn about an erroneous line that is dangerous for the International Communist Movement : “Third Worldism”. This conception negates the national frame, the dialectical movement of reality and develops ultra-leftist topics which bring only confusion.
As we know, the Communist Party of China noted in 1963, in a reply to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union also known as the letter in 25 points:
“The various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are concentrated in the vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America; these are the most vulnerable areas under imperialist rule and the storm centers of world revolution dealing direct blows at imperialism (…).
Certain persons in the international communist movement are now taking a passive or scornful or negative attitude towards the struggles of the oppressed nations for liberation. They are in fact protecting the interests of monopoly capital, betraying those of the proletariat, and degenerating into social democrats.
The attitude taken towards the revolutionary struggles of the people in the Asian, African and Latin American countries is an important criterion for differentiating those who want revolution from those who do not and those who are truly defending world peace from those who are abetting the forces of aggression and war.“ (1)
This is the basic understanding of the world according dialectical materialism. The capitalist countries manage to organize the terrible exploitation of the semi-colonial semi-feudal countries. In this process, they are able to produce a labor aristocracy which serves capitalism. Lenin writes in his classical “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”:
“Capitalism has now singled out a handful (less than one-tenth of the inhabitants of the globe; less than one-fifth at a most “generous” and liberal calculation) of exceptionally rich and powerful states which plunder the whole world simply by “clipping coupons” (…).
Obviously, out of such enormous superprofits (since they are obtained over and above the profits which capitalists squeeze out of the workers of their “own” country) it is possible to bribe the labour leaders and the upper stratum of the labour aristocracy. And that is just what the capitalists of the “advanced” countries are doing: they are bribing them in a thousand different ways, direct and indirect, overt and covert (…).
They are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, real vehicles of reformism and chauvinism.” (2)
On one side, we have strong capitalist countries, able to produce agents of the bourgeoisie in the ranks of the working class, paralyzing in a relative manner the revolutionary activity of the working class; on the other side, we have oppressed countries in which exploitation is so strong that rebellion can develop itself in a much better manner.
Nevertheless, these are tendencies. For example, in the oppressed countries, it is possible that semi-feudalism or semi-colonialism is so strong that revolution is, in a relative manner, slowed. Religious fanaticism is a reactionary tendency which is very strong where feudalism is particularly established. Nationalism can be very developed in countries where bureaucratic capitalism knows a period of development.
In the same way, pauperism is a natural tendency of capitalism. The contradiction between bourgeoisie and proletariat is antagonistic and therefore the masses, even in the capitalist countries, come always more in a situation of poverty. This is the law, explained by Karl Marx in the Capital, of capital accumulation, and rejected by social-democratic reformism who affirms that the standard of living of the masses can always be better within capitalism.
“Third worldism” is here an ideology which negates the dialectics of reality. It pretends that capitalism can be peaceful and always in progress in the capitalist countries. This is counter-revolutionary. But it doesn’t express it openly: it hides its vision of a peaceful capitalism through the “revolutionary” affirmation of the “Third world”.
“Third worldism” spreads the same vision of capitalism as the social-democratic reformists, but with a tactic of pretending of being “revolutionary” in negating this so-called peaceful capitalism in the name of the “Third World”.
This is an ultra-left deviation which only helps, in fact, the popularizers of a “peaceful” capitalism, as it says the same, even if pretending to be “against”.
This is an ultra-left deviation which negates the class antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat in the capitalist countries, promoting capitulation in the name of the “superiority” of imperialism.
This is an ultra-left deviation supporting a “national” conception of the revolution, when in fact the question is always a democratic one: the struggle of the oppressed countries is not the one of a nation against another, but of the masses for democracy against exploitation and oppression organized by a ruling class of another country.
The ultra-left “Third Worldist” conception has the same view on imperialist capitalism as the social-democratic reformists, considering it as without antagonism; it has an anti-dialectical point of view, giving birth to a metaphysical conception of the “Third World”.
This is the same ideology as Lin Biao, who attempted a fascist coup in red China under the disguise of a “Third Worldist” line.
It is necessary here to stress what we should really understand as “Third World”. It is Mao Zedong who popularized this concept; let’s quote him here when he made a description of the world.
“The U.S. and the Soviet Union have a lot of atomic bombs, and they are richer. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada, of the Second World, do not possess so many atomic bombs and are not so rich as the First World, but richer than the Third World.”(3)
As we know, there was then already an attempt of the capitalist roaders in red China, led by Deng Xiaoping, to misuse this description to promote an alliance of the “Second World” to the “Third World”.(4)
This brought a lot of confusion and a lack of understanding sometimes. Let’s see here the correct interpretation of the Communist Party of Peru through Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought :
“The first world is the two superpowers, the U.S. and the USSR which contend for world hegemony and which can unleash an imperialist war.
They are superpowers because they are economically, politically, and militarily more powerful compared to the other powers. The U.S. has an economy centered on non-state monopoly of property; politically, it develops a bourgeois democracy with a growing restriction of rights. It is a reactionary liberalism; militarily, it is the most powerful in the west and has a longer process of development.
The USSR is economically based on a state monopoly, with a politically fascist dictatorship of a bureaucratic bourgeoisie and is a top-level military power although its process of development is shorter. The U.S. seeks to maintain its dominance and also to expand it.
The USSR aims more towards expansion because it is a new superpower and economically it is in her interests to dominate Europe to improve its conditions. In synthesis, they are two superpowers which do not constitute a block but have contradictions, clear mutual differences, and they move within the law of collusion and contention for the redivision of the world.
The second world are the imperialist powers which are not superpowers, but have smaller economic, political, and military power such as Japan, Germany, France, Italy, etc. which have contradictions with the superpowers because they sustain, for example, the devaluation of the dollar, military restrictions, and political impositions; these imperialist powers want to take advantage of the contention between the superpowers in order for them to emerge as new superpowers, and they also unleash wars of aggression against the oppressed nations and furthermore, acute contradictions exist among them.
The third world is composed of the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They are colonies or semi-colonies where feudalism has not been destroyed, and on that basis a bureaucratic capitalism unfolds, they are tied to a superpower or imperialist power. They have contradictions with imperialism, furthermore they fight against their own big bourgeoisie and landlords, both of which are at the service of and in collusion with imperialism, especially with the superpowers (…).
The contradiction of the oppressed nations, on one side, against the superpowers and imperialist powers, on the other. Here the thesis of the three worlds is delineated, and we formulate it this way because the kernel of that contradiction lies with the superpowers but it is also a contradiction with the imperialist powers.
This is the principal contradiction and its solution is the development and victory of new democratic revolutions.” (5)
This correct interpretation was not made by numerous parties and organizations around the world. For example, the TKP/ML in Turkey and the Party of Labor of Albania had the same unilateral conception of the “Three Worlds” theory.
The TKP/ML rejected it in defending Mao Zedong who according it couldn’t have supported it (6) and the Party of Labor of Albania rejected it in attacking Mao Zedong presented as its supporter, assimilating him with Deng Xiaoping. (7)
In fact, the conception of “Three Worlds” was only a description permitting to apprehend in a better way the contradiction between imperialist powers i.e. between imperialist powers and imperialist superpowers; it never meant to be a concept to use mechanically.
To be scientific, we should use the same distinction within the semi-colonial semi-feudal countries. Some of them are “expansionists”, like Siraj Sikder noted it in the particular situation of East Bengal facing Pakistan and then India, which are both semi-colonial semi-feudal, but aggressive as expansionist countries.
We have also to note here that, in this particular case, the Chinese state internationally represented by third wordlists did not support the East Bengal Liberation Movement as they thought it was going against Pakistan which was their international diplomatic ally.
Siraj Sikder being a genuine communist, understanding Mao Zedong and his teachings, vigorously carried national liberation war against Pakistan. So, his guiding thought directly went against the third wordlist view that thought Pakistan, as oppressed country, cannot have a colony. The third wordlists do not find any contradiction inside a third world country.
This is an important particularity of third worldism: it rejects dialectics and so the contradictions of the oppressed countries, which are not “national states” but semi-colonial semi-feudal countries.
In early 70s, the pro Moscow groups supported the Indian expansionism and its lackeys while the pro China third worldists supported Pakistani expansionism and its lackeys.
Everywhere in the world, in the oppressed countries, we can see that the revisionists support bureaucratic capitalism and feudalism, in a nationalistic approach, working at the same time for imperialists and expansionists that they choose as being “progressive”.
In the imperialist countries, this trend exists also, particularly in the second world and its games against the superpowers.
In Belgium and France, for example, imperialist countries, organizations claiming Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought and politically active in 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s all refers to the “three worlds” in all their theoretical productions; but there was in no way a right understanding of the “three worlds” as a “tool” for a better understanding of the contradictions between imperialist superpowers and imperialist powers..
Here, however, the most negative example of a mechanistic misuse of the “three worlds” as “overall strategic course of action” has to be credited to the Belgian organization AMADA-TPO becoming in 1979 the PTB-PVBA – who forgot opportunistically that a theory which knows no class can never be a theory of the proletariat.
Thus, in its “Agenda for peace, national independence, people’s democracy and socialism”, dated from May 8, 1976, AMADA-TPO explained that as part of the analysis of power relations between “rising and aggressive Russian hegemonism and US imperialism in decline which is in a defensive position”, it would be necessary to understand NATO as a framework within which it would be possible to conclude a defensive alliance with the United States, based on the principles: “sovereignty, independence and « rely on its own forces », equality and mutual non-interference”.
Tumbling in the most complete subjectivism in wishing to form a united block with the US imperialism and the Belgian bourgeoisie, AMADA-PTO analyzed thus NATO as a “shelter” where it would be possible to support all the trends moving in the national claims mentioned..
It is not difficult to understand that these designs have nothing to do with the “three worlds” popularized by Mao Zedong and Gonzalo, since for AMADA-TPO, NATO, although understood as completely under the thumb of the US imperialism, became the guarantor of equality, mutual non-interference, national independence.
To support their “scientific evidence” on “American imperialism in decline”, it was particularly referred to Hua Guo Feng and Deng Xiaoping quotations drawn from “Beijing Review” of the end of 1976, so after the victory of the anti-Party revisionist clique in China.
AMADA-TPO was having a mask of a Marxist-Leninist organization Mao Zedong Thought; in practice, it was already a populist organization, advocating basically a “social” line and celebrating fascist China of the period after Mao Zedong.
A very similar evolution was followed by the French PCMLF.
This shows the necessity of an analysis of reality, on the basis of dialectical materialism, through participation to the class struggle and with the birth of a guiding thought; revolution can not be base on subjectivism, on rupturism, even in the name of the third world.
Ultra-leftist deviation is always based on subjectivism. It is the pretension of saying “no” individually to oppression, without any scientific understanding of exploitation.
There are nowadays two main “Third Worldist” structures in the USA for example, the “Revolutionary Anti-imperialist Movement” and “Leading Light”. Both pretended to be Maoist, to abandon it those last months: after having pretended to be of proletarian nature, they can only tip always more in subjectivism. This phenomenon already happened in the 1970’s-1980’s, with the Weather Underground in the USA and the Red Army Fraction in Western Germany.
Those genuine revolutionaries failed to build a guiding thought, to find a revolutionary way in their own country, and so they found “elsewhere” the motor of the revolution. Let’s quote here the Red Army Fraction:
“If the people of the Third World are the vanguard of the anti-imperialist revolution, then that means that they objectively represent the greatest hope for people in the metropole to achieve their own freedom.
If this is the case, then it is our duty to establish a connection between the liberation struggle of the peoples of the Third World and the longing for freedom in the metropole wherever it emerges. This means in grade schools, in high schools, in factories, in families, in prisons, in office cubicles, in hospitals, in head offices, in political parties, in unions—wherever.
Against everything that openly negates, suppresses, and destroys this connection: consumerism, the media, co-management, opportunism, dogmatism, authority, paternalism, brutality, and alienation.
“This means us!” We are revolutionary subjects.
This is subjectivism. Revolution in the imperialist countries do not depend of a “connection” with the Third World, but of a guiding Thought which is in the frame of the World Revolution. To say something else means to negate the antagonistic contradiction between bourgeoisie and proletariat in a capitalist country.
In each country, the contradiction is internal; as Mao explained it in “On contradiction”:
“The fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal; it lies in the contradictoriness within the thing. There is internal contradiction in every single thing, hence its motion and development.”
In this sense, Third Worldism is a reactionary ideology, bringing only confusion and which bourgeois goal is to block the study of reality through dialectical materialism, nowadays: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Let’s study Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, unite under the banner of Maoism!
Reject subjectivism, forge the revolutionary conditions for a guiding Thought!
People’s War until Communism!
Marxist Leninist Maoist Communist Party of Bangladesh
Marxist Leninist Maoist Center of Belgium
Communist Party of France (marxist leninist maoist)
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