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The Stalinist “stages” theory of history held that anti-capitalist revolutions were impossible in nations oppressed by imperialism — because the working class was too small and weak and because the task of the day was to abolish feudal and other pre-capitalist obstacles to the spread of capitalism — and its proponents argued that a protracted period of capitalist development was necessary before class contradictions in these nations could come to approximate those in the imperialist nations, and only then could the struggle for socialism could be put on the agenda.So, instead of leading struggles to bring revolutionary governments of workers and farmers to power, Moscow instructed the communist parties under its control to become junior partners in alliances with the supposedly progressive wing of the national bourgeoisie, leading to countless catastrophic defeats, Iran in 1953 and Indonesia in 1965 being two major examples.
Yet only a moment’s thought is needed to see its absurdity and its deeply reactionary nature.
The “East” in the East-West confrontation was Moscow, yet Moscow is, geographically speaking, part of the West, the eastern edge of white Europe.
Ignoring the question of imperialism is synonymous to betrayal of people’s cause.
John Smith, former oil rig worker, bus driver, telecommunications engineer, longtime activist in the anti-war and Latin American solidarity movements, and author of , January 2016), discusses the question of imperialism in the following interview taken by Farooque Chowdhury during July 2018-February 2019.
As Che Guevara said, “the indigenous bourgeoisies have lost all capacity to oppose imperialism — if they ever had any…. Either a socialist revolution or a caricature of a revolution.”It is notable that the only revolutionary victories during the so-called Cold War occurred under the leadership of communist parties that had broken at least partially from subservience to Moscow (Yugoslavia, China, Korea, Vietnam), or of revolutionary movements and parties that had never been in Moscow’s orbit in the first place (e.g. Perhaps the most instructive example is that of Vietnam.
At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, the victors — Truman, Churchill (assisted by Labour Party leader Clement Attlee, whose election as Prime Minister of Britain was confirmed mid-conference) and Stalin, met to share out the spoils of victory.
Aided by some 300,000 soldiers from China (whose social revolution triumphed in 1949), Korea’s working people, led by Kim Il-Sung and the Korean Workers Party, inflicted the first ever military defeat upon the United States, for which they have never been forgiven and for which they continue to be cruelly punished.
Moscow’s official policy throughout the Cold War was “peaceful coexistence”, code for class collaboration, and can be understood as the continuation of its post-war betrayal of the Korean and Vietnamese outlined above (there are many other nations and peoples on this list, not least the Jews of Europe and the people of Palestine, both of whom were betrayed by Moscow’s anti-Semitism and by its connivance with the establishment of Israel in 1948).
The real East is invisible in this risible, incredibly Eurocentric narrative, and the same fate of invisibility befalls the entire South: the North-South conflict, i.e.
the struggle between imperialism and its colonies and neo-colonies, is entirely collapsed into the so-called East-West conflict.