Written by a commentator for Tjen Folket Media.
Communists are proletarian internationalists. This means that we see that our struggle is international. Our class, the proletariat, is an international class with the historic task of organizing the world in a common communist future. International solidarity must therefore be an integral part of the struggle. But who shall we stand in solidarity with? In a misguided form of “solidarity”, some people on the so-called left support governments in countries like Russia and China or Iran and North Korea. They see it as a way of undermining NATO and the US.
Ragnar Røed writes in the article China – a social imperialist superpower:
“Furthermore, a number of self-proclaimed western Marxists make the great error of in practice putting contradictions among the imperialists themselves before all other contradictions. They give geopolitics preference before the class struggle. They believe that the competition between countries like NATO and Russia can, with the “correct” handling, bring us closer to communism. Consciously or otherwise, they are connecting their political project as just a small supporter of the massive Russian or Chinese Panzers, and/or as a little skiff attached to a sinking ship, like the Ba’ath Party in Iraq or the so-called “Bolivarian revolution” in Venezuela. To “defend” one or another bourgeois government against US imperialism becomes more important than developing the class struggle, building the communist party and its mass organizations, and initiating people’s war.”
The error herein describes is committed by, among others, large portions of the new communist movement (the “ML-movement”) in the 1970s. Particularly among those who followed Hua Guafeng and Deng Xiaoping after the counterrevolution in 1976. The Norwegian AKP(m-l) was such a party. And after 1976, continuing into the 1980s, the threat of Soviet invasion in Norway became a very central position in the party’s propaganda and work. Geopolitics, the political competition between states, were in practice emphasized over many other matters and at the cost of the class struggle and the proletarian class standpoint.
Meanwhile, AKP(m-l) maintained friendly relations with Deng’s China all the way until 1989, when the party turned around and called the Deng regime fascistic after the massacre at Tienanmen Square. The very same government that the party had supported throughout the entirety of the 1980s was now openly using fascist terror against the masses. Instead of a world war, as AKP(m-l) had predicted, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It cannot have been a coincidence that the party split and became weakened in the same period that Chinese and Soviet incidents tore apart the party’s international analyses and focus.
Today the old ML-ists have preserved the model where geopolitics takes the front seat, even if their position on Russia has changed. Russia is no longer seen as a threat against Western Europe and thereby it is as if the country has stopped being imperialist altogether. Having started with the foreign policy line that Russia (or the USSR) must be combatted by all means, Russia is now depicted as a victim of Western aggression. The actual anti-Russian Western propaganda is now being met with legitimization of Russian imperialism. Communists must dispel the idea that we must take a side with one imperialist or group of imperialists against other imperialists.
Ragnar Røed further writes that:
“The primary contradiction in the world is not permanent, but in our epoch it has always been between imperialists (all imperialists!) on one side, with US imperialism as the largest, and the world’s oppressed peoples and nations on the other. To enter into a political partnership, even if it is completely one-sided and purely theoretical from these groups’ perspective, with either Russia or China, is a betrayal of the world’s oppressed peoples. In the case of China, it is a betrayal of the hundreds of millions of the oppressed Chinese proletariat, and against the masses in Africa, Asia, and Latin America who pay for this Chinese expansion with blood, sweat, and tears.”
It should also be added that even in a period where the contradiction between imperialists becomes more important, it is a betrayal of the revolution to focus one-sided on this. In 1914, when world war broke out between the world’s foremost imperialists, Lenin’s answer was not to support the “victims” against the “aggressors”. Marxists saw neither England/France nor Germany/Austria-Hungary as more or less of friends or enemies of the proletariat, based on who was the “largest” or the “worst” or the most “offensive”. Lenin saw the struggle between them as a struggle between plunderers over how the spoils were to be divided. Concretely: how colonies and the exploited in these colonies were to be divided between the European superpowers.
The rivalry between superpowers today is of the very same form as it was then. The interests that the Russian government protects against NATO aggression is not a matter of Russian national sovereignty or anything like this. They protect their spheres of influence as imperialists. They fight for influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and more generally over the entire world. They attempt to maintain their position or at best “take back” areas that were once under Russian imperialistic domination before 1991 and the Soviet Union’s collapse. Russia is much weaker both economically and militarily than the US and NATO. The US is the world’s largest imperialist, the world’s only true superpower, and the principal enemy of the world’s people. But this does not mean that Russia is not imperialist or a friend of the world’s people.
Communists must combat the tendency of allowing geopolitical games to overshadow the revolution, class struggle, and the proletarian class standpoint.