Second Report to the Sixth Congress of JRCL
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We are publishing here English version of a report presented to the sixth National Congress of JRCL (Japan Revolutionary Communist League - Chukakuha), which was held early in 2001.
Chapter I: Imperialism The final stage of historical development of capitalism
Chapter II: Leninism Theory of proletarian world revolution on the stage of imperialism
Chapter III: Decisive Betrayal of Stalinism (analysis of its essence)
Theory of Socialism in One Country, a doctrine of betrayal and distortion of twofold task of world revolution
Chapter IV: Collapse of the Postwar World System and Anti-Imperialism and Anti-Stalinism World Revolution
(1) The 21st century has now opened. The 20th century has left us a world-historical great task to be accomplished, an urgent and immediate task to completely smash and overthrow imperialism together with its suppressive system and to achieve historical transition of mankind to communist society, a task to be carried out through PROLETARIAN WORLD REVOLUTION AGAINST IMPERIALISM, AGAINST STALINISM.
(2) The whole period of the 19th century witnessed a continued advance of self-liberating struggle of the proletariat against exploitation and suppression of capitalism. Marxism was born against this background. The birth and founding of Marxism ushered in a new epoch for universal development of labor movement and for world-historical advance of communism-oriented revolutionary movement. Among the most remarkable achievements are: proclamation of the Communist Manifesto (1848); publication of the Capital (1867); founding of proletarian International [the First International] (1864), which encouraged progress of labor movement and building up of worker's party; and finally, Paris Commune (1871), the first experience of establishing worker's power with its victory and defeat.
(3) During the period from the end (last quarter) of 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, capitalism underwent a world-historical transition from the stage of liberalism to the stage of imperialism. Lenin distinctly grasped in his work, Imperialism the highest stage of capitalism (1916), the essence of the historical development of capitalism into its imperialist stage. Based on this recognition, he actually succeeded in winning a victory of the Russian Revolution (1917) as part of proletarian world socialist revolution, thus bringing the world history into a transition period of world revolution. The thought and theory of Leninism should be understood as fundamental establishment of theory of proletarian world revolution in the imperialist stage.
Thus the 20th century was basically and initially orientated toward a stormy century of world revolution. This bright perspective was, however, turned into darkness by Stalinist counter-revolution that distorted the Russian Revolution and the International Communist Movement into a reactionary, that is, Stalinist direction. But upsurge and upheaval of class struggle all through the 20th century has exposed and brought about historical bankruptcy of Stalinism finally in the last decade of the century.
The period from the end of 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century is marked with undeniable trends: overall breakdown the postwar world system of imperialism and the end of its postwar development; threat of another Great Depression of 1929-type and endless intensification of antagonism between imperialist powers. That is not all. In the course of fierce inter-imperialist rivalry and split of imperialist [world] economy into blocks, the strife among imperialist powers has become a burning issue over integration of collapsed Stalinist-block countries as well as remaining Stalinist-block countries into capitalist=imperialist system most possibly in a violent form, that is overturn of the existing system. It constitutes now the most serious issue in imperialist competition of world division.
All these developments distinctly indicate us that there is no alternative now for the workers and people of the whole world than to proceed for the victory of world revolution against imperialism and against Stalinism, re-arming themselves theoretically with genuine Marxism and Leninism in a creative way. It is also evident that we can thus prevent a conversion of the disintegrated postwar world system of imperialism and Stalinism into the third world war
For theoretical clarification and practical solution of fundamental problems of today's world in this general trend, we must systematically grasp the modern history and contemporary world in the following moments:
(i) Today's world is basically capitalist society (as was analyzed by the Capital and other works of Marx);
(ii) It has developed to its imperialist stage;
(iii) In this contemporary world, a transition period of world revolution (from imperialism to communism) has already been launched;
(iv) The transition period, however, suffered transformation (Stalinist distortion of International Communist Movement and "globalization of imperialism and Stalinism");
(v) Today's world now finds itself in a crisis (crisis of overall disintegration of the postwar world system of imperialism and Stalinism and crisis of impending war).
Thereby we should first of all note the following historical facts:
(i) Imperialism has, helped by Stalinist betrayal, basically survived; and inevitably, even under the postwar system of imperialism and Stalinism, has not been able to escape from the explosion of its basic contradiction;
(ii) Stalinism went into historical bankruptcy in 1990's and the world has been thrown back to a face-to-face confrontation of imperialist powers, that originally constitutes axial moment of the world development;
(iii) Further, all through the process of deepening imperialist crisis and intensification of antagonism, collapsed Stalinist blocks and remaining Stalinist blocks have been targeted for re-division of the sphere of influence of imperialism. Thus crisis of the third world war is imminent. Taking into consideration the above-mentioned facts, our revolutionary understanding of the world and present situation should start from the question: what is imperialism and what are the characteristics of its system.
(4) Imperialism is defined, in general terms, as a definite stage of capitalist development in world history (the highest stage of development) that was established under specific, historical conditions as inevitable outcome of the historical development of capitalism. Concretely, imperialism has emerged on the basis of finance capital; this specific mode of capital accumulation (finance capital) is an inevitable product of monopolistic control and division, i.e. re-division of productive forces and market. Compared with capitalism on the stage of liberalism, imperialism is distinctly characterized by reactionary features and historical adverse trend (represented by conversion from free competition to monopoly and other phenomena in every field)
Under imperialism, collusion and unification of economy with state power is promoted; imperialistic interests are vigorously pursued as state policy, feverishly intensifying struggles over monopoly and re-division of world market and colonies of the whole surface of the globe. Thus colonial wars of aggression and world imperialist wars for world domination inevitably break out. All these indicate that imperialism is overripe capitalism. Lenin clearly defined it as "moribund capitalism" and "capitalism on the eve of the socialist revolution of proletariat".
From the viewpoint of striving for proletarian revolution, imperialism implies complete maturation of material conditions for the advancement of proletarian revolution toward construction of a socialist society. Lenin confidently pronounced that imperialism is capitalism in a "transition to socialism".
With the recognition above, we shall further inquire into imperialism.
Imperialism was established typically in Germany, a backward country at that time, as a result of dynamic, international development of capitalism in the phase of industrial capitalism (a dialectics of developments between advanced and less advanced economies). Imperialism arose against the background of complex historical factors: fixed capital had gigantically grown as an inevitable outcome of capitalist development; the world market had undergone a violent process of reorganization and, under these circumstances, economic crisis and depression had become protracted and chronic. To cope with these problems, private funds were systematically brought together by fully utilizing stock corporation system and also by fusion, collusion and unification of banks and big enterprises under the leadership of big banks; thus gigantic monopolies were formed through concentration and merger of industrial enterprises (including banks). Overriding aims of these moves were monopolistic control, monopolistic division, i.e. re-division of productive forces and market. This movement brought forth a mode of accumulation in a form of finance capital. It differs from the previous mode of capital accumulation in a form of industrial capital that was based upon capital accumulation fundamentally through direct exploitation of surplus value with certain degree of concentration of capital.
Historically and substantially, finance capital, being a specific, historical mode of capital accumulation, has an inherent character of monopolizing and dividing as well as re-dividing productive forces and market, by means of formation of organized monopolistic body of industrial enterprises under the leadership of banks. Finance capital not only exploits working class directly but also tends to violently squeeze every layers of the society through monopolistic measures. Moreover, finance capital that has itself huge monopolistic power comparable to the state power, makes full use of fusion, collusion and unification with state power in order to carry out policies for its own interest.
Backward Germany achieved rapid development of heavy-chemical industries, i.e. coal, steel, chemical industries, etc. which require huge amount of fixed capital investment, exactly in such way as was described above and thus soon caught up and took over advanced Britain in her powerful control over production as well as market.
For finance capital or monopolistic bodies of finance capital, division and rule of domestic market is at the same time prerequisite and result of their development. It inevitably brings forth excess of capital and drives them into competition over monopolistic division as well as re-division of world market (commodity and capital market). World colonial rule and competition over world division, which has been unfolded and expanded in the development of capitalism not only on the stage of mercantilism but also on the stage of liberalism, now obtains a fresh significance. A new era of war for re-division of the world is ushered in re-division of the world for the pursuit of monopolizing position in the world market (commodity and capital market), colonial rule and colonialist super-profit, monopoly of resources, new territory in general, etc. In reality the strife over colony and sphere of influence takes form of violent antagonism between imperialist states.
Dialectic dynamism of international competition prompted advanced British and French as well as US capitalism to enter the new phase of capitalist development, i.e. imperialism, imperialist state system (economic and political), typically represented by backward German capitalism. It all occurred even with varied characteristics and deviations originated in respective different historical conditions. In case of Japan whose development into capitalism took place in the world-historical transition period of capitalism into imperialism, imperialistic character was already imposed upon in its initial stage. Thus capitalistic establishment of Japan was carried out almost simultaneously with establishment of Japanese imperialism.
Imperialism should thus be understood as a specific stage of world-historical development of capitalism. Capitalism finally brings about, on the imperialist stage, grave, historical problems: Because monopoly of productive forces and market constitute the material basis of finance capital and its mode of accumulation, agriculture (farmers) and medium, small and micro enterprises, that is, non-monopoly sectors, are exposed to twofold rule by means of economic exploitation and forcible squeeze, giving rise to domestic difficulties. A more critical problem is, however, through enforcement of imperialistic colonial policy and world rule strategy, as Lenin sharply pointed out, imperialism has produced a world divided into imperialist countries and colonial/subjugated countries, that is, into oppressing nations and oppressed nations.
Another problem in the economy of imperialist stage is a considerable change in the occurrence of economic crisis that is an explosive manifestation of capitalist contradiction. Firstly, under the dominance of finance capital, fixed capital has gigantically grown. Secondly, world market tends to go through alternately unexpected economic boom and protracted stagnation by complex operations of economic as well as non-economic factors. These trends have marked effects on economic crisis.
What does gigantic growth of fixed capital bring about? Every new investment requires huge amount of funds because fixed capital is large in scale. Consequently, it takes far longer time than before, for invested fixed capital, to bear 'fruit', that is, to be materialized as productive forces. Financial monopoly capital tends, therefore, to make its new, large-scale investment intensively at the last phase of an economic prosperity (or boom, bubble) forced by competition among enterprises. As a result, it happens very often that, when the newly invested fixed capital finally begins operating, the market is already in the midst of depression. Added to this, gigantic fixed capital is very difficult to liquidate. Thus, under continued pressure of huge amount of excessive capital, financial monopoly capital makes effort for survival with all its monopolizing power and its durability proper to finance capital. Consequently, economic crisis becomes more and more chronic and depression tends to be frequently protracted, as growing tendency.
Thus, in the stage of imperialism, capital incessantly turns to be excessive-excessive in a sense of overwhelmingly surplus productive forces in relation with the market. Under imperialist system, domestically and internationally, life-and-death struggles among monopolistic bodies of finance capital (also among different industrial branches) are intensified and expanded, producing rise and fall as well as reshuffling of economic powers. At the same time, overseas expansion policy is pursued through export of commodity as well as of capital and competition over division and re-division of world market takes a violent form among monopolistic bodies and further among imperialist states.
All these head-on confrontations among imperialist state powers inevitably and finally turn into imperialist war of aggression or war between imperialist powers over colonial rule and sphere of influence, ultimately war over world domination.
Let us examine now, from the viewpoint attained by the foregoing analysis of imperialism, the historical process of the development of contemporary imperialism: World War I, The Great Depression of 1929, World War II, postwar development, its standstill and explosion of its aggravated contradictions. Firstly, world economy under contemporary imperialism is inclined to be multi-axial and is basically disruptive in its character; its unification is only mechanically (forcefully) achieved and maintained by the prevailing power of a central, or axial country, whose decline is inevitable through unequal development of economic powers. Secondly, as is stated above, in the stage of imperialism economic crisis takes peculiar forms different from the preceding stage and depression tends to be protracted, resulting in chronic occurrence and prolongation of critical phase. It goes, however, further. When world-widely accumulated and not-liquidated excessive capital is combined with intensified competition and irreconcilable conflict of interests among imperialist powers and further with disintegration of world economy, a 1929-type world economic crisis will inevitably arise in a certain stage of development in an explosive way. Compared with the crisis in the classical period, it will assume a far more violent character in its scale and depths and will more directly lead to a fundamental social crisis. Thirdly, this development will cause serious disruption and disintegration of world economy into blocks, bringing a spiral of great crisis and breaking-up of economy into blocks. Thus it will drive imperialism closer to death, violently precipitating war of aggression over colonial domination and war among imperialist powers.
Through the study of contemporary imperialism based on the theory of imperialism, JRCL has formulated a definition in regard to the manifestation of fundamental contradiction of imperialism (intrinsic to imperialism) as follows: (a) Excessive capital and excessive productive forces historically hampers economy; world economy seriously suffers disruption and tends to be divided into blocks; and the combination of these two factors inevitably brings about explosion of world economic crisis of type of 1929. (b) Above-mentioned development unavoidably triggers off explosion of crisis of imperialist system and outbreak of imperialist war, namely war of aggression over colonial domination and imperialist world war. Actual development of the last quarter of the twenty's century since 1970's has evidently proved correctness of our argument.
(5) As defined by Lenin, imperialism is the eve of proletarian revolution; imperialism is moribund capitalism; finally, imperialism is a "transition" to socialism.
(i) Imperialism is the source of all disasters that threaten the life of working class and people of other layers, causing major economic crisis, war, large-scale unemployment, reactionary political trends, oppression and discrimination and overall corruption and decay. The life of imperialism is counted out. Upsurge of proletarian revolution will incessantly take place and will surely win victory.
(ii) "Gigantic growth of fixed capital", a specific term of the theory of imperialism, means, in other words, an overwhelming development of productive forces. Tremendous productive forces inevitably compel finance capital, i.e. economic basis of imperialism, to strengthen monopoly, to accelerate reactionary drives and finally to resort to aggression and war. Imperialism reveals its inherent inability 'to cope with' the problems raised by 'gigantic growth of fixed capital', that is, an overwhelmingly developed productive forces. Control of industry and market through organized monopoly means nothing but self-negation of the principle of free competition and utmost self-contradictory practice.
(iii) These analyses clarify that all necessary material conditions for proletarian socialist revolution have been historically ripe to full extent. When proletariat or working people want to do away with disasters of imperialism (severe exploitation, restructuring, unemployment, hardship in livelihood, deprivation of rights, discrimination and oppression, war mobilization, etc.), they have no choice than to rise up for proletarian socialist revolution, to overthrow imperialist state power, to deprive bourgeoisie of means of production and to build up, as master of society and production, socialist, communist society.
For the working people of various social layers, farmers at their head, and all those people who have been fighting against imperialist discrimination and oppression, with the Buraku people in forefront, the only way to defend their own interest and achieve liberation from imperialist oppression, exploitation and extortion, is to join in these great deeds of revolution and to proceed as its active force.
(iv) That imperialism is the eve of proletarian revolution and represents dying capitalism, providing ripe material conditions for socialist revolution, means that imperialism reveals imminence of world proletarian revolution by historical concrete facts.
Above all, fundamental contradiction of imperialism inevitably causes imperialist world war, which brings about crisis of social system together with worldwide intensification of class struggle and results in maturation of all conditions for proletarian world revolution. Imperialist war is ultimately carried out as war of aggression and war of robbery over domination of colonial countries and for sphere of influence. Thus national and colonial problems disclose historical deadlock of imperialism and its extremely reactionary character. Worldwide eruption of revolutionary national revolt and national liberation struggle are inevitable outcome. Considering imperialism is in an ultimate phase of historical development, which is to be overthrown by proletarian world revolution, world-historical upsurge of national liberation struggle necessarily develops into uncompromising confrontation with colonial aggression, oppression, and exploitation of imperialism. Naturally enough it constitutes a strategic element and component of a great historical movement for proletarian world revolution.
Thus imperialism is destined to reveal its class nature as eve of proletarian world revolution both historically and actually in all its manifestations. (National and colonial problem will be treated further in the following section).
The 20th century began in the midst of transition process of capitalism to a stage of imperialism. It does not mean, however, that the 20th century was simply an epoch of imperialism. As is already stated in the preceding chapter, transition of capitalism to a stage of imperialism meant that capitalism has definitely entered a period of fullest maturity or, in other words, decline. It is most typically demonstrated in an inevitable outbreak of imperialist world war as an obvious manifestation of contradiction inherent to imperialist system. In fact, already in the second decade of the century, in 1914, the First World War broke out. The above-mentioned characteristics and development of imperialism imply that the age of imperialism is at the same time an age of approaching proletarian world revolution. The Russian Revolution of 1917 has successfully crushed a part of imperialist world system and has thus opened up an initial stage of the strategic breakthrough for proletarian socialist revolution. A transition period of world revolution has actually begun. The 20th century was an age, in which an era of proletarian world revolution (a revolutionary age) was really been launched and everything centers around whether the world historical task, that is, overthrow of imperialism, would be completed or not.
Imperialism has after all survived all through the 20th century, supported by Stalinism that emerged as betrayer of world revolution and played a counter-revolutionary role in its development (we will later discuss on this point in Chapter III). Notwithstanding the historical fact remains that the Russian Revolution of 1917 has decisively given a fatal blow to imperialism, i.e. capitalism. This is a crucial point for a fundamental understanding of the contemporary world history. We must remember that revolutionary spirit of proletarian world revolution once prevailed the whole world and seriously threatened imperialism and imperialists almost to death.
Here we must clearly underline the revolutionary significance of Leninist theory and practice. It was a product of the struggle of Lenin and the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution (and also international activities thereafter). Our late comrade HONDA Nobuyoshi, former General Secretary of JRCL gave an overall elucidation on Leninism in his monumental article (To Succeed Leninism or to Destroy Leninism, 1972) It would be enough here to emphasize upon its several essential points.
Firstly, for Lenin who actively learned and creatively developed Marxist thought and theory through confrontation with the Narodnik tendency, it was perfectly evident in his thinking and practice to take a consistent orthodox position in the fundamental Marxist principles that urges to fight for self-liberation of the working class, to struggle for socialist-communist revolution as class task of workers who are driving force of revolution. (It should not be forgotten, however, that Lenin maintained unchangeable admiration to the great revolutionaries of Narodnik and at the same time carried through unreserved theoretical criticism against Narodnik's thought).
Secondly, for understanding of Leninism, it is important to note decisive significance of the theory on party organization (the theory of organizing a vanguard party).
Lenin developed his theory on party organization in the midst of class vs. class life-and-death struggle with Tsarist state power. His basic concepts that led the struggle were put forward in his writings as What Is To Be Done? (1902) [and also One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (1904)] and A Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Task (1902). This process corresponded world-historically to the process of historical development of capitalism to the stage of imperialism and the imperialist drive for the First World War. As is well known, the Socialist Party in Russia (Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party) was founded as a party belonging to the Second International and was constructed after the model of the German Social Democratic Party. On the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party (1903), for which Lenin worked at its head, a split of the party into the Bolshevik and the Menshevik took place over the divergence in the theory on party organization that was put forward by Lenin and also in the way of establishing party leadership after Lenin's concept.
According to the vulgar interpretation of Lenin's theory on party organization, this theory could not be generalized because of its unusual character to cope with the Russian Tsarist system and its severe repression. Certainly and naturally, Lenin vigorously sought his way to fight back extraordinary Tsarist suppression. In fact, this process corresponded to the period of transition of capitalism into a stage of imperialism and a feverish drive for the First Imperialist World War. It was a process of aggravating crisis of imperialism, which is in fact declining capitalism, and also a process of desperately plunging into war. It was also a dynamic process, in which imminence of proletarian revolution, i.e. overthrow of imperialism, gradually manifested itself to all classes and layers of the society. From this viewpoint, it becomes clear that Leninist theory on party organization was worked upon a real and distinct recognition of life-and-death struggle with imperialist state power and urgent need of overthrowing it (overthrow of Tsarist power evidently meant in its historical substance a struggle against imperialism itself) as well as burning necessity of organizing armed uprising of proletariat for power. What then is required for a revolutionary party, how should a party organization be built up and be consolidated to cope with this pressing situation? this was the real motivation and strong orientation of the party organization theory of Lenin.
Lenin was himself an orthodox Marxist, extremely faithful to Marxism in its original. He was, therefore, fully aware of the fundamental principle that the proletarian revolution is self-emancipation of the working class and it is a task of working class itself. To intensify and develop Marxism, Lenin raised for the first time that the problem of party building should be presented from a practical viewpoint, conceiving how self-emancipating struggle of working class actually overpowers ruling class through life-and-death battle, and how proletariat carries out successful armed uprising for power. It also requires an overall examination of the whole possible process of ups and downs of revolutionary movement till its ultimate victory.
In other words, the essential point is how working class builds up its own "vanguard party" through its self-emancipating struggle. It contains following problems: how working class that has been deprived of theoretical as well as ideological activities, recover them; how working class actively integrates in its process of class building a certain part of intelligentsia of different class origins, who comes over to the proletarian camp through recognizing and experiencing the reality of capitalism (From the side of the revolutionary intelligentsia who has joined the proletarian camp, problem is presented as how he and/or she builds up him/herself into a communist through self-transformation. This will be treated later.); how working class develops its influence over other layers of the society, especially peasants and farmers, to motivate them to join the party and become active party members (to build up cells); how working class brings up and trains enough numbers of competent professional revolutionaries who devote themselves to revolutionary movement all day long and throughout the year; and finally, to sum up all preceding discussions, how working class builds up a party leadership and party system, best and adequate for the class interest based firmly on worker's cells in workplaces and community's cells in regions.
In his works as What Is To Be Done and others, Lenin offered a concrete, essential and fundamental answer to the problems of the revolution of the 20th century through his theoretical endeavor on revolutionary party. The aim of Lenin's assertion on "bringing class consciousness to working class from outside" and on "revolutionary party composed primarily of professional revolutionaries" was to give a solution to the above mentioned problem: how working class actually builds up a vanguard party, armed with the highest level of class consciousness and provided with revolutionary experiences to win the life-and-death battle with the state power (Our argument against superficial interpretation of and opposition to Lenin's theory on class consciousness will be dealt with in a separate article). This will be clearly ascertained when we examine how Lenin and the Bolshevik party actually struggled to put Lenin's theory into practice and to develop it in the historical process: the process between 1905 and 1917; the revolutionary process of 1917 and the period after taking power, ranging from the civil war to the transition period of socialist construction. Among them, a lot of valuable lessons can be drawn from the work of Lenin in 1920, Leftwing Communism.
Thirdly, the most important point in regard to Leninism is his vigorous argument and fierce struggle, consistently aimed against the trends of opportunism, social chauvinism and social imperialism, which was born in the initial and transitory phase of the imperialist stage and grew up together with the rapid development of imperialism and finally reached at full maturity in the First World War within the international labor movement as well as socialist movement (see Lenin's work of 1915 The Collapse of the Second International). Carrying through this struggle, Lenin achieved the Russian Socialist Revolution of 1917 and succeeded in establishing the Third International (Communist International).
A penetrating Marxist elucidation of the nature of imperialism and of imperialist war decisively afforded the key to the revolutionary development of the struggle. Every opportunist and chauvinist tendency in the international socialist movement ended after all in submission to the dominant reality, brought about by the capitalist evolution into imperialist stage. In fact, when the war broke out and the revolution started, all opportunists and chauvinists became converter one after another, abandoned socialist position and surrendered to the enemy camp and became its tools.
Fourthly, to sum up, Lenin succeeded in giving a fundamental theoretical solution to the problems presented in the imperialist stage and the era of proletarian revolution (proletarian world revolution in the age of imperialism).
Under imperialism, reactionary politics and war become inevitable. In other words, the age of imperialism is a period of declining capitalism; and revolutionary overthrow of capitalism is on the agenda. Lenin successfully grasped the core of the matter. What made him capable of achieving this recognition was his continued effort to perceive imminence and inevitability of revolution and to build up a party to actually carry out revolution, uncompromisingly confronting repression of the Tsarist Empire, whose social and economic structure was rapidly shifting to imperialism. From this practical viewpoint, it was evident that the outbreak of imperialist war, an explosion of inherent contradiction of imperialism, ushered in an age of looming socialist revolution, that is, proletarian world revolution.
Lenin's practical stand of pushing forward world revolution and his revolutionary perception of the maturity of condition of this task led him to correct recognition of the essence of finance capital. He regarded finance capital not as "organized capitalism" but as declining capitalism. He argued that finance capital presupposes monopoly of production and market and also reproduces them anew, which means a negation of free competition, the principle of capitalism. It demonstrates, therefore, historical decline of capitalism. Therefore, Lenin was able to notice that competition over monopolist rule of market, colony, sphere of influence and territory as well as strife over their division and re-division would inevitably turn into life-and-death battle among imperialist powers and finally into imperialist war (It eloquently proves that class-based viewpoint serves as solid foundation of scientific understanding).
Establishment of the theory of imperialism and of imperialist world war was really a great achievement. It must be recognized, first of all, that both sides of the belligerent countries of imperialist war are committed in aggressive war or reactionary war. In the imperialist war, therefore, international proletariat should wish and promote defeat of their own imperialist country. They should then make use of the opportunity of system crisis of imperialism caused by war and its defeat, in order to transform it into a victory of proletarian revolution. To sum up, a great historical line of world revolutionary movement has finally been established: on the occasion of imperialist war, international proletariat should fight with the slogan of "defeat one's own government" and should convert imperialist war into civil war. It is important to note that this political line has validity not only for revolutionary struggle in a specific country (for example Russia) but also has been presented and established generally rather as a strategic slogan for proletarian world revolution in the age of imperialism.
Thus, based upon the theory of imperialism and of imperialist world war, the strategic slogans of world revolution "Defeat one's own imperialism, convert imperialist war into civil war!" have been set up. These strategic slogans have actually been applied to the practice of the Russian Revolution and contributed to the victory of proletarian revolution that broke off a part of chain of international imperialism. World revolution has actually been launched and materialized in its first step. Consequently, the theory of world revolution initiated by Marx and Engels that proletarian revolution would be possible only as world revolution has been theoretically re-established and re-created on its basic level as well as in its concrete form in the actual situation of imperialism.
In the stage of imperialism, i.e. capitalism under the dominance of finance capital, following problems come out: internationally, competition intensifies among imperialistic powers over monopolist rule of production and market as well as over division and re-division of sphere of influence; and domestically, a huge amount of relatively surplus population industrial reserve army and potential surplus population is brought forth and is utilized as tool of severer exploitation of other part of working class; in agriculture, instead of promoting capitalist mode of production, finance capital integrates traditional form of agriculture into commodity economy, thus strengthening monopolist deprivation of peasants and making agricultural area a pool of relatively surplus population. So-called agriculture and peasants/farmers problem emerges.
On the other hand, internationally, fierce competition among finance capitals as well as imperialist states is carried on over market, colony and territory for their monopolistic division, re-division, establishing and re-establishing of their sphere of influence. Imperialist states, including several advanced countries, extend imperialistic colonial rule, hinder capitalist development of emerging countries, exploit and deprive those countries, and prevent them from forming their nations and building their own nation-states. Their independence is taken away and their national rights are suppressed. Existence of the nations itself is threatened to be eliminated. This is how national and colonial problem occur in imperialism.
Imperialism brings forth, on the one hand, unimaginably gigantic productive forces and powerful imperialist states. On the other hand, it produces fierce competition among powers over the world domination, extending network of rule over all continents to integrate the whole world into an imperialist world system. Moreover, imperialism not only generates protracted depression and major economic crisis but also accelerates disruption and breaking up of world economy into blocks, finally provoking imperialist world war for global domination, in which all countries, nations, peoples are unavoidably entangled. This is an aggressive and reactionary war on both sides of belligerent camps, for its aim is to gain exclusive control over colonies, sphere of influence, world market and world politics. From the viewpoint of working people of the whole world, this is nothing but a class war of international imperialism against international working class and masses, a war of aggression on the people of colonial and dependent countries to oppress, subjugate and annihilate them, a war of suppressing national liberation struggle.
Imperialist war breaks out as a result of all-out explosion of fundamental contradiction inherent to capitalism in its imperialist stage. It deepens crisis of downfall of capitalism and crisis of disintegration of imperialist society; it produces thus a worldwide revolutionary situation and also gives rise to an explosive development of national liberation struggle or revolutionary war against imperialism.
The foregoing understanding of imperialism and imperialist world war makes us clear that proletarian world revolution is a real necessity and the only way for the working people and oppressed nations all over the world to achieve ultimate self-liberation. Lenin devoted a large part of his energy to clarify agriculture and peasants problems as well as national and colonial problems. He tackled these problems in a situation, in which capitalism was internationally shifting from the initial phase of imperialism (transition period into imperialist stage) to a period of established imperialism. Lenin faced a specific situation at home: complex Russian realities with extremely belated agricultural development on the one hand and chauvinistic oppression, discrimination and persecution of the Russian Empire on several nations within "a prison of nations" on the other hand.
To tackle the agriculture and peasants problems, Lenin, like other Russian socialists, started his study based on the established programmatic doctrine of the international socialist movement at that time that stated oncoming Russian revolution would be a democratic revolution determined by the class nature of the tsarist state power. Lenin, who elaborated step by step his formulation as "democratic dictatorship of proletariat and peasants", regarded it particularly important, in view of carrying through proletarian hegemony in revolution, to expose unstable and reactionary character of Russian bourgeoisie and to establish relations with peasants and farmers who were waging struggle (peasants' uprising etc.) in an enormous and overwhelmingly agricultural country like Russia. This made a sharp contrast with the Menshevik theory of bourgeois democratic revolution that was marked with its ambiguous attitude toward Russian bourgeoisie who were unstable and reactionary in its political character. In a decisive moment, the Menshevik would possibly give over hegemony to bourgeoisie according to their theory. We might and ought define Lenin's program on the Russian revolution at that time as a form of so-called two-step revolution theory, when we examine it from the theoretical as well as practical viewpoint achieved through "the April Thesis" of 1917 and based upon the theory of imperialism and through the experiences of Revolution of 1917 and its final conclusion.
Lenin sought to clarify fundamental character of Russian revolution and to solve the agriculture and peasants problems in his efforts to develop theory of imperialism through analyzing the character of the First World War. His endeavor finally succeeded by reaching an understanding: "Russia has now fundamentally become an imperialist country under the rule of finance capital, or monopoly capital (combined with, and incorporated in, the framework of foreign capitals), even with various systems and institutions since the feudal era still remaining everywhere and with overwhelming dominance of belated agriculture. Lands belong to large landlords, but almost all of them are mortgaged to banks". What brought him a theoretical breakthrough was, to say more precisely, his stand to combine the accurate understanding of the Russian situation based on the theory of imperialism with the actual class-oriented practice in the development of the Russian Revolution of 1917, culminating in the presentation and materialization of "the April Thesis".
There is an important point to be confirmed here. Certainly Lenin made a decisive leap to the theory of proletarian revolution [from a form of so-called two-step revolution theory] and proved its correctness through revolutionary practice. But this development should not be treated or interpreted only in a pragmatic, political=functional way of thinking like, "Lenin rightly grasped the 'dynamics of revolution'. The task of bourgeois revolution was simply taken over by proletariat etc."
The essential point is that Lenin squarely put forward a task of proletariat and its party to establish a revolutionary power, that is, in its essence, proletarian dictatorship, and to proceed with all its power for construction of communism (initially socialism in its first stage). Lenin and the Bolshevik, more precisely Russian proletariat, were confronted at home with the domination of Russian imperialism characterized by its backwardness and internationally the world that was in the imperialist stage. Needless to say, imperialism is, in its essence, capitalism, a specific stage of world historical development of capitalism.
The achievement of the proletarian revolution in Russia proclaimed that a great task started to overthrow capitalism fundamentally from its very basis and to carry through universally the principle of communist revolution. The Russian proletarian revolution materialized, in its actual deeds, the idea of proletarian revolution, or communist revolution, which is, in its essence, self-liberation of proletariat and historical and universal emancipation of mankind. It was brought about through overall revival, reconstruction and creative development of Marx's thought, theory and principles. Look at the spirit, thinking and theory of Lenin's work State and Revolution (1917), in which he practically adopted and theoretically developed Marx's thought in a creative way.
Problem was posed: how to achieve basically this task (of proletarian world revolution) in the stage of imperialism and in a specific condition of Russia.
Lenin's firm stand in this regard enabled him to perceive crucial position of peasants as active revolutionary force of overthrowing Russian imperialism and as partner of labor-peasant union. Thus he was able to grasp the real class character of the peasants.
We have started, in the third Congress of JRCL (1966), our study to elucidate the following historical development agrarian revolution in the 1917 revolution and its results, labor-peasants/farmer relations during the civil war and the war communism, victory of the civil war and transition into the NEP (New Economic Policy). Our study should be, of course, continued further on the actual development of the Russian revolution and its experience. In face of the present situation, however, we can definitely affirm that only way of liberation of humankind from all disaster, reactionary trends, darkness and destruction of life caused by imperialism, is to overthrow imperialism and carry out proletarian socialist world revolution, that is, to open up the way for communism. When the validity of this perspective is clarified in ideology as well as in revolutionary practice and in daily life, a solid basis would be provided for great advance in every field of social activities. It enables us to rally workers, peasants and all other working population and fighting masses around united actions, united front and class alliance in a common struggle against imperialism. In other words, favorable conditions would thus emerge and grow up not only in working class but also in other layers of people to accept the theory of proletarian self-liberation and the idea of communism and also to join the actual movement.
Let us discus now on the actual and concrete problem of labor-peasants alliance. It is of course indispensable for the working class to make continued efforts to find agreement and adjustment with peasants over the present as well as future interests to maintain the labor-peasants alliance. Our basic stand should be that the working class, assuming a position of master of the production of all industries, proceeds, on the material foundation of universally developed productive forces, to abolish division of labor, first of all division between mental labor and physical labor. Further, it would become a vital issue to adjust relations between huge productive forces of industries and particular character of agricultural production, to promote abolition of antagonism between town and country (urban areas and farm districts). The future social form of agriculture would thus be created and determined. .
From the foregoing argument, it would be absolutely evident that a proletarian socialist revolution started in one country alone can never construct socialism when it is cut off from revolutionary activities to achieve world revolution. No correct relation would thus be established between working class and peasants. From principle of communism, proletarian revolution is essentially world revolution and is achieved only as world revolution. Inevitability and imminence of world revolution reaches the highest level as ever in the imperialist stage. To put it differently, in the age of imperialism, capitalism enters its historical period of decline and is no more capable to transform a whole society or the whole world into capitalism. Old social relations are (instead of being completely dissolved) forcefully integrated or incorporated into alienated complex relations of imperialism. Exactly in the imperialist age, world revolution becomes acutely imminent and tide of proletarian revolution gains fresh momentum. Only proletarian revolution, essentially a world revolution, can offer ultimate solution to various difficulties violently arising from inherent contradiction of imperialism.
In fact, Lenin himself had the slightest idea that the socialist construction together with veritable solution of agricultural and peasants problem would be possible without advance of world revolution. Certainly the revolutionary Russia was likely to feel isolated for a certain period owing to several historical circumstances. Lenin, however, squarely confronting difficulties and distortions brought forth by the isolation and desperately seeking every possible way for survival of revolution, made utmost effort to encourage fresh upsurge of world revolution to achieve its ultimate victory. The Russian proletariat and working people were well aware of their class duty to defend revolutionary Russia as stronghold of world revolution and to carry out world revolution. With this consciousness, they continued their struggle all through the trying period of the revolution, the civil war and the NEP.
Through elaboration of the theory of imperialism and of imperialist war, Lenin grasped the reality of imminent world revolution to overthrow imperialism and developed an overall view of contemporary revolution, i.e. world revolution. His decisive theoretical breakthrough was not only the solution of agriculture and peasants problems but also the strategic positioning of national and colonial problems. These studies provided the theory of proletarian revolution with appropriate content to the theory of world revolution.
Through elaboration of the theory of imperialism and imperialist war, Lenin made it clear that imperialism is the eve of proletarian world revolution and that the age of imperialism is characterized by global explosion of national liberation struggle that shakes the very base of the whole world. He also demonstrated that victory of the national liberation struggle against colonial rule, national oppression and persecution constitutes an indispensable historical task for the struggle of overthrowing imperialism, achieving proletarian world revolution and going ahead for communist liberation of the world.
Historical development of capitalism promoted establishment of so-called national states; this enabled capitalism to undergo rapid development. In a certain stage of capitalist development several capitalist states shifted into imperialist states. From its character as finance capital with monopolizing drive, imperialism succeeded the worldwide colonization and partition of territories from the previous stage and further waged competition of monopolistic re-division of the world, bringing about intensified and extended colonial rule of new quality and quantity, i.e. violent imperialist oppression. Lenin analyzed this development and came to the conclusion that imperialism, in order to establish world rule, divided the world alongside states and nations, namely into imperialist oppressing nations (states) and oppressed nations of colonial, dependent countries. He analyzed further: imperialism not only enforces severe exploitation and deprivation at home but also gains a huge amount of excess profit through controlling colonial and dependent countries; the excess profit thus obtained is used to finance imperialist drive in the military, diplomatic and political fields and also to bribe a certain layer of labor aristocracy in order to foster imperialistic labor movement. Lenin exposed that, on the other side, colonial rule and national oppression of imperialism provokes inevitably revolutionary upsurge of national liberation struggle, which would emerge as driving force of world history to shake imperialist world system from the bottom.
What is great with Lenin is: he attached great importance to the actual situation before him, in which workers and people of the world are divided into imperialist oppressing nations and oppressed nations by imperialism; he reached a clear understanding that it is imperative for the achievement of world revolution to overcome this division of working people. Lenin put emphasis upon the following points: it has vital importance and historical significance for the nations who have been suffering from national oppression and persecution (proletariat and all other people of the nation) to achieve national liberation, to gain right of self-determination and to form a nation state (including separation and independence as a nation); and it is also necessary for proletariat who are striving for class-liberation, that is, communist liberation, of the whole world, to recognize the above mentioned points as ideological as well as programmatic issue of major importance.
Another important point to note, as practical conclusion of the preceding argument is: it is indeed a decisive task to fight for overthrow of imperialism, recognizing and exposing imperialism as cause of national oppression and discrimination; at the same time, however, proletariats of oppressing nations are requested to become aware of the fact that they are inevitably influenced by imperialist chauvinism, great-nation-ideology etc. through their historical, social and cultural background and it is important to overcome consciously such mentality. To materialize these requirements, Lenin demanded to fight resolutely against aggression (war) of one's own imperialism and to support and develop solidarity and cooperation with national liberation struggle against (one's own) imperialism.
Lenin goes further: Proletariat of oppressing nations should be aware of their "blood debt" as working people to oppressed nations for the outcome of long history of imperialism; and this stand should be their principle of activity.
Later, after taking power, Lenin wrote in his note, so-called "Testament" as follows:
... we, nationals of a big nation, have nearly always been guilty, in historic practice, of an infinite number of cases of violence; furthermore, we commit violence and insult an infinite number of times without noticing it...
That is why internationalism on the part of oppressors or "great" nations, as they are called (though they are great only in their violence, only great as bullies), must consist not only in the observance of the formal equality of nations but even in an inequality of the oppressor nation, the great nation, that must make up for the inequality which obtains in actual practice. Anybody who does not understand this has not grasped the real proletarian attitude to the national question, he is still essentially petty bourgeois in his point of view and is, therefore, sure to descend to the bourgeois point of view.
What is important for the proletarian? For the proletarian it is not only important, it is absolutely essential that he should be assured that the non-Russians place the greatest possible trust in the proletarian class struggle. What is needed to ensure this? Not merely formal equality. In one way or another, by one's attitude or by concessions, it is necessary to compensate the non-Russian for the lack of trust, for the suspicion and the insults to which the government of the "dominant" nation subjected them in the past.
(The Question of Nationalities or "Autonomisation", December 31, 1922, Lenin Collected Works, Vol. 36)
Lenin's presentation of the problem contains certain elements of class moral. It is of course important to note this point, but we should also realize that Lenin posed the problem as strategy of world revolution in the contemporary world (an epoch of imperialism).
In reality, there could be no theory of proletarian revolution that does not recognize sweeping upsurge of national liberation struggle as its inherent and actual element. It is absolutely impossible to overthrow imperialism without solidarity, unity and unification with national liberation struggle that is logically incorporated in communist universality of proletarian self-emancipation. History of imperialism teaches us through painful lessons that chauvinism, patriotism and their materialization in popular consciousness is the last resort and the strongest weapon of imperialism.
To sum up, through tackling national and colonial problems and problem of national liberation struggle in all of their aspects, Lenin clarified the imminence of proletarian world revolution, analyzed the world revolution in its concrete and actual form as well as in its substantial structure, and hammered out strategy and tactics of proletariat (party) in revolution. In a word, he successfully presented an overall and grand view for world revolution. Theory of world revolution has thus been elaborated and enriched.
The 20th century has been a century of imperialism and imperialist war.
It was also an age, in which proletarian world revolution of overthrowing imperialism has actually begun and a split between imperialism and socialism has started, thrusting the world into transition period of world revolution. In the preceding two chapters we have established this recognition.
With the establishment by Lenin of theories of imperialism and imperialist war, more precisely with the theory of grasping imperialism as specific stage of capitalist development, Marxist principles, thought and theory, developed by Marx and Engels in Manifesto of The Communist Party, Capital and Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875), have been historically revived, overcoming corruption and betrayal of the Second International. In a word, fundamental strategy and tactics of proletarian revolution on the imperialist stage has been established by accomplishment of Leninism. Through the revolution of 1917 and several succeeding years, Leninist strategy and tactics were applied to the practice in the construction of a society in the actually launched transition period and in the reconstruction of international communist movement. This practice brought forth significant results.
The 20th century thus proved to be an epoch, in which objective as well as subjective conditions were ripe for the stormy advance and sweeping victory of revolution. Actual development of the 20th century thereafter, however, took a different direction. As is well known, the world revolution was not fundamentally achieved; the transition period for world revolution was once started but was distorted and impeded by Stalinist deformation of the revolutionary Russia and of international communist movement; split of socialism from imperialism was transformed into a world system dominated by imperialism and Stalinism. But this development did not change the fundamental trend of the 20th century, that is, a century of imperialism and imperialist war, a century, in which the world revolution was actually launched and advanced. It was inevitably manifested by repeated upheavals of world historical significance in various forms throughout the century.
Imperialism that survived in its basic part, aided by betrayal of Stalinists, was not exempt from the eruption of its fundamental contradictions as long as it continued to be a system of imperialism. The Great Depression in 1929 and World War II distinctly illustrated this.
From the practical standpoint of striving for world revolution, it should not be overlooked that the sweeping and class-oriented upsurge of class struggle in the 1930's and the revolutionary situations developed world-wide before, during and after World War II had a great and colossal character both in scale and quality. Though these struggles were basically suppressed by Stalinist betrayal, a world historical tendency of soaring national liberation struggle against colonial rule was materialized in the victory of the Chinese Revolution. It was achieved under the Stalinist-Maoist leadership as a specific distorted form of revolutionary war for national liberation (a distortion, because of its separation from the world revolution strategy). Consequently, the birth of new China inevitably meant establishment of a Stalinist system and resulted in worldwide, geographical expansion of Stalinism after all. Nevertheless, the Chinese Revolution no doubt brought about a significant change to the imperialist world rule.
The revolutionary situation, which took place all over the world before, during and after World War II, especially in the immediate postwar period, had a very serious and great impact on the development of class struggle and shook the very base of the system of imperialism. It has constituted a vital part of the history of the 20th century. All the more, the decisive role played by Stalinist in betraying these revolutionary opportunities should be remembered as a determining factor for the development of the world history. Thus the counter-revolutionary essence of Stalinism based on the doctrine of Socialism in One Country, that is, renunciation, distortion and degradation of world revolution, was fully demonstrated. We have to make it thoroughly clear.
The crisis in the aftermath of World War II, above all the crisis brought about by the upsurge of postwar revolution, severely hit major imperialist countries excepting US. World imperialism narrowly got over the crisis by Stalinist betrayal and proceeded to establishment of the postwar system of imperialism with the US as its pivot. The Korean War (1950-1953) was a counter-measure of the survived imperialism (international imperialism) against the development of the national liberation/colonial liberation struggle headed by the Chinese Revolution. Faced with this imperialist attack, Stalinists resorted to a tactic of military adventure with an aim of defending and expanding the USSR and its sphere of influence and of striking bargain with imperialists as well. This is a counter-revolutionary tactic based on the theory of Socialism in One Country. It only helped imperialists to justify and conceal their true intention of the war of aggression. The Geneva Conference (1954/55) was held to find a settlement of the Korean War and the Indochina War. It concluded an agreement to modify the Yalta System, the postwar system of imperialism and Stalinism established as a result of the Yalta Conference (1945). Recognizing the situation brought about by the above-mentioned two wars, the Yalta System was revised into the Yalta-Geneva System.
Thus the postwar world system was finally established as a system under the domination of imperialism and Stalinism and constituted a specific era of history. Under this system, imperialism that had barely survived World War II experienced a certain historical period of development and Stalinism also was seemingly enabled to achieve a temporary stabilization of its system. It was widely reputed that 'an age of peaceful co-existence' came. The aggressive war on Vietnam (vs. the National Liberation War of the Vietnamese people) from 1960's to 1970's, a world historical confrontation, marked a turning point to the postwar system of imperialism and Stalinism and drove it into a profound process of fundamental tumult and collapse.
In 1966, JRCL held the Third National Congress, facing the development at the outset of the latter half of 1960's, and worked out essential definitions and formulations in regard to the world today:
(1) Imperialism had basically survived by the help of the Stalinist betrayal;
(2) The fundamental contradictions of imperialism would inevitably erupt;
(3) The postwar system of imperialism had been shaken in its basis;
(4) Stalinism would inevitably go bankrupt historically because of its doctrine of Socialism in One Country and renunciation and distortion of world revolution and its disintegrating process had already begun.
Stormy development of world historical importance thereafter has completely proved correctness of the world recognition of the JRCL. We are convinced of this.
In fact, aggravation of the crisis of imperialism in a form of overall manifestation of its fundamental contradictions has been precipitated. This process started from 1970's as turning point and has been developing all through 1980's and 1990's. Now the world is faced with grave situation: impending crisis of a type of the Great Depression of 1929; intensification of uncompromising rivalry among imperialist powers; fierce competition over the seizure of sphere of influence in the countries belonging to the neo-colonial system and collapsed Stalinist countries as well as remaining Stalinist countries in crisis; and a violent drive for forming economic blocks.
In regard to Stalinism, the historical collapse of the USSR in August 1991 and the foregoing disintegration of Stalinist regimes in east European countries in 1989 ultimately exposed historical bankruptcy of Stalinism. Remaining Stalinist countries headed by China are also not exempt from disintegrating crisis as long as they are by nature Stalinism despite their respective peculiarity. Subjectively expressed, Stalinism is destined to be overthrown by indignant workers and people under its rule.
Now the general trend of world historical development is once again fully verifying the fundamental recognition that the 20th century is an era of imperialism and imperialist war, an age of transition to world revolution already launched and that achievement of world revolution is the task of the 20th century. Historical bankruptcy of Stalinism and violent manifestation of the fundamental contradictions of imperialism are proving this recognition.
The 21st century will witness an overall eruption of the fundamental contradictions of imperialism and final exposure of the bankruptcy of Stalinism and its counter-revolutionary posture. It is becoming more and more evident that we live in an age that urges us to achieve anti-imperialism, anti-Stalinism world revolution in succession of the struggle for proletarian world revolution started in the first quarter of the 20th century. The major prerequisite for accomplishing these tasks is to raise the banner of revolutionary Marxism against Stalinism through overcoming long-maintained argument that identifies Communism with Stalinism and overthrowing adverse reality produced by Stalinism under the guise of communism. It is imperative to revive revolutionary thought and theory as well as revolutionary practice and experience of Marxism and Leninism in today's world.
In the preceding sections, we have examined the history of 20th century and endeavored to follow it in outline. What immediately comes up to us through this examination is the historical fact that Stalinism has reversed the basic trend of the 20th century, a century of launched world revolution to put an end to the age of imperialism and imperialist war, and converted it into a deep darkness through the establishment of Stalinist regime and its counter-revolutionary betrayal, which brought about degeneration and deformation (of world revolution) in the transition period to socialism and finally helped imperialism survive and go rotten alive.
Therefore, it is now imperative for the working class and people of the whole world to clarify what is Stalinism, where lies the essence of Stalinism and how Stalinism could be overcome fundamentally. We of JRCL has, since its foundation, endeavored and achieved to set up a basic stand on Stalinism and reached a new stage, culminating in the Third National Congress of the League. In the following sections we shall expound the standpoint according to our historical recognition.
In the Third National Congress, we formulated a comprehensive definition on Stalinism as follows:
Stalinism is an alienated form of international communist movement (movement in its broad sense), born and established in the specific stage of history, in which world revolution has been launched and world imperialism has partly been crushed but in its basic part is still alive, in a word, an age of beginning transition period from capitalism to socialism. Essential character of Stalinism lies in that Stalinism regards achievement of socialist revolution and socialist construction in one given country not as an integral part of the practice for world revolution but as self-inclusive and ultimate goal, totally separating it from world revolution. It was justified by the theory of Socialism in One Country. Stalinist regime is the materialization of this theory in political and economic system. So-called 'International Communist Movement' is a movement degenerated and deformed into a tool to defend the interest of Stalinist regime.
What characterizes the definition of Stalinism in the Third National Congress is its class-based stand of practice to carry out world revolution and to examine essential nature of Stalinism from this viewpoint of revolutionary practice. To say more closely, our analysis of Stalinism is based on the world historical recognition that the Russian Revolution of 1917 has already started world revolution, and is oriented by a practical purpose of succeeding the achievements of 1917 Revolution and proceeding world revolution. Further, our stand is to examine how Stalinism emerged and in which conditions and basis it developed, and at the same time, to expose what sort of influence Stalinism exercised over the international communist movements from historical and practical stand point.
Against this background, we have formulated our definition over Stalinism as mentioned above: "Stalinism is an alienated form of international communist movement, born and established in an age of beginning transition period of world revolution" "Essential character of Stalinism lies in that Stalinism regards achievement of socialist revolution and socialist construction in one given country not as an integral part of the practice for world revolution but as self-inclusive and ultimate goal, totally separating it from world revolution. It is justified by the theory of Socialism in One Country" All these definitions are summed up as follows: the essential nature and substance of Stalinism lies in the doctrine: Socialism in One Country.
It is to be noted that we do not put the problem simply if socialist construction in one country is practically possible or not. Of course it is itself a very important problem as Trotsky tackled with. But we have to go further in clarifying the problem.
The actual issues lying beneath the problem was that the victorious Russian proletarian state power confronted with the civil war and counter-revolutionary war of intervention that threatened the existence of the newly-born proletarian state, and that Russia was forced to be isolated because of the failure of European and international revolution to follow successively the Russian Revolution. Under these trying circumstances, twofold task was posed to the Russian proletariat and people (fundamentally international working people): to continue to strive for the achievement of world revolution, and to carry on political and economic construction in transition period to socialism in Russia, a backward imperialist country with overwhelmingly agricultural structure.
Needless to say, the struggle against these enormous and complex difficulties did not necessary brought forth Stalinism. Actually, under the principled leadership of Lenin, a victory in the civil war was won and the counter-revolutionary war of intervention was defeated. Thus the struggle was carried on to proceed from the War Communism to the NEP (New Economic Policy). This process had, of course, a lot of difficulties.
Class struggles intensified on the international scene and class conflicts took sharper form. It inevitably reflected upon the development of the party (the Bolshevik party) and the state power itself, and produced various forms of corruption, bureaucratic tendency, authoritarianism, national chauvinism, etc.
It should be noted here that the state power and state machinery were in the hand of the working class and that the party had overwhelming authority and leadership. It was quite natural. The problem was rather how to proceed revolution practically as well as ideologically in these conditions with the state power as effective lever. What was essentially required for the proletarian state and the party was: to raise clearly the task of the revolution, that is, achievement of world revolution and socialist construction at home, before the proletariat and people and also before the party and the party members; to endeavor, with its all energy, to develop revolutionary class power, a power of self-emancipation of the working class in a conscious, organizational and class-based way; and to defeat, based on this self-conscious class power, bureaucratic tendency, reactionary ideology and national chauvinism that were likely to emerge within the state power as well as the party organization and might cause reactionary deformations.
This was exactly what constituted the content of the struggle that was fought from the period immediately after the 1917 Revolution till the death of Lenin (1924). One of the major problems was how to gain perspective for the victory of world revolution and to work out, as a part of it, a definite plan of carrying out domestic socialist construction in Russia. Another urgent problem was how to fight authoritarianism and bureaucratization of the Party and the State Power and reactionary chauvinism in regard to the relations with the peoples of various nations.
In the period Lenin was still alive, Stalin had already started his scheme of expanding his own administrative and bureaucratic power within the party and the state apparatus, building up a group of his private supporters. Thereby he slyly took full advantage of the achievement of the revolution, that is, the grasp on the state power, materialized in the Party's control and leadership of the essential structure of state machinery with bureaucracy as well as economic and social organs. Contrary to the practice of Lenin, who fought for consolidating and expanding the launched revolution domestically as well as internationally, Stalin strengthened his power basis through mobilizing reactionary tendency that clung to maintain bureaucratic interest obtained by the revolution.
As Commissar of the Nationalities, Stalin forced his national policy based on Great Russian Chauvinism and trampled the right of self-determination and demands of the non-Russian nationalities through justifying his policy by the 'cause of building up the proletarian state', in fact a Russian state. So-called Georgia Issue was a symbolic case. (It is to be noted that Great Russian Chauvinism that obstinately existed in the Party and the State power machinery was not defeated but instead utilized by Stalin to solidify his power basis. Stalin's chauvinistic tendency got stronger as Lenin's illness aggravated and his death approached. Lenin finally became aware of Stalin's chauvinistic national policy and began criticizing him. Stalin, however, pretending to accept Lenin's criticism and to follow his direction, in fact neglected them.
In his famous "Testament", Lenin declared his decisive position of over-all confrontation against Stalin's bureaucratic and chauvinistic stand and finally proposed to dismiss Stalin from the General Secretary of the Party because of his too much 'administrative' and autocratic behavior. Stalin refused, by means of nasty maneuver, to disclose Lenin's testament on the Party's Congress, which took place immediately after his death. Stalin thus usurped the party and the state power.
In the final struggle against Stalin, Lenin asked Trotsky to take on the leadership of the Party and the State in place of Stalin. Nevertheless, Trotsky hesitated at the decisive moment. As a result 'Stalinism' came into existence and seized power under the direction of Stalin. Thus Leninism was actually denied and abandoned. In the course of this reactionary development, Trotsky repeatedly fought against Stalinist policy. In the life-and-death battle over the hegemony of the Party and the State, Trotsky, however, exposed his weakness and insufficiency in carrying out the struggle to the end (more precisely, his opportunism in organizational problems).
It all does not mean that Stalin was powerful from the start and that the Left Opposition led by Trotsky was powerless. Leadership of Lenin and Trotsky in the 1917 Revolution was evidently overwhelming and the proletariat and the people of Russia owed much to their leadership in a revolutionary and class-based uprising for victory. In fact, Stalin lacked his confidence in the revolutionary ability of the proletariat and the people to proceed revolution both at home and abroad for the achievement of world revolution. To say more exactly, he feared that overall upsurge of the struggle of the proletariat and the people for self-liberation might undermine his bureaucratic and administrative domination over the Party and the State.
In fact, there were sufficient conditions for a victory of the Left Opposition led by Trotsky. From the death of Lenin until 1927, several crucial opportunities existed for the struggle to defeat Stalin. It was only at the beginning of 1930's that Stalin declared a decisive victory of Stalinists.
Now let us proceed to examine how Stalinism snatched victory and consolidated it. It was only after the death of Lenin that Stalin overtly proclaimed the doctrine of Socialism in One Country. Justifying himself by this doctrine, Stalin gained complete control of the Party and the State. Through putting this doctrine into practice, Stalin betrayed and deformed, in frontal denial of the revolutionary cause, the twofold struggle of endeavoring for world revolution and carrying on domestic revolutionary construction (Russian revolution).
In regard to the domestic construction, in the first place, the reactionary ideology of the doctrine of Socialism in One Country exerted enormous influence on the proletariat of the USSR to accept the absolute priority of promoting productive forces instead of developing self-emancipation of the working class. As a result, the working people were exposed to terrible suppression of every kind of right, to heavy labor, ruthless exploitation, and drastic accumulation. All these were carried out through total destruction of the basic principles of transition society to socialism by introducing so-called 'distribution in proportion to the quantity and quality of individual labor.
Another example of Stalinist reactionary politics was agricultural/peasantry policy. Advance of the struggle for world revolution and progress of industrialization in Russia were indispensable prerequisites for the task of overcoming the trying period of the NEP. Confronted with difficulties at home and abroad, Stalin resorted to collectivization of agriculture by means of horrible, violent enforcement and cruel measures. It was the advocacy of 'Socialist Construction' based on the theory of Socialism in One Country that played a decisive role in carrying out the forced collectivization.
Also in the area of the nationalities policy, the right of self-determination of nationalities were completely trampled, demands of national liberation were totally suppressed and the non-Russian nationalities were subject to 'colonial' plunder in the name of construction of 'a single powerful socialist state', that is, in fact a state of Great Russian Chauvinism. Here again the theory of Socialism in One Country was employed to justify strengthening and expanding the USSR, a "socialist country".
Moreover, the Soviet System (originally Workers, Peasants and Soldiers Council) of the USSR was basically destroyed and was replaced by Stalinist reign of terror, in which anyone who opposed, or seemed to oppose to Stalin (Stalinism), were virtually liquidated by terrorism. The notorious 'Lageri' (labor camp) were filled with large number of 'political prisoners'.
The doctrine of Socialism in One Country raged over international movement, bringing about horrible reactionary trend and deformation and counter-revolution. The essential part of the 20th century was transformed into a period of darkness through renunciation and distortion of world revolution. '. To say precisely, world revolution was degraded and reduced to a mere tool and means of promoting and defending 'socialist construction' of the USSR. Stalin feared, in fact, successive and overall advance of world revolution and he resolved to intervene and suppress it, because upsurge of world revolution would possibly destabilize existing international power relations and provoke imperialist pressure, i.e. besieging and war attempt against the USSR and, on the other hand, revolutionary emergence of international proletariat as main character of a new society would shake the very basis of the repressive Stalinist system of the USSR hostile to the proletariat and people.
The doctrine of Socialism in One Country broke up world revolution strategy into pieces, providing theoretical justification for forcing the Strategy of Two-Stage Revolution on almost every country of the world, including Japan. It was a flagrant attempt of disintegrating Lenin's theory of imperialism and, at the same time, a total destruction of the principle that the proletarian revolution is a proletarian world revolution in its essence, a principle clarified by Marx and Engels and restored by Lenin.
Stalinist betrayal of, and antagonism to, the achievement of world revolution, as inevitable outcome of the theory of Socialism in One Country, was most evidently exhibited by their attitude toward World War II. Totally giving up the general line for the victory of revolution in the 20th century, formulated in the slogan, "Convert imperialist war into civil war!" which is a political line based on the Leninist theory of imperialism and imperialist war, Stalin reduced all the problems to a single issue, defense of the USSR. He practiced it in a bourgeois way led by the logics of purely military and international-political dynamics. While the imperialist powers were divided into two antagonistic camps and began a war of plundering between the robbers, Stalin and Stalinists presented an outrageous political line, according to which the one was named the Fascist camp and the other the Democratic camp, and the USSR was to choose the latter camp to defend itself. Thus the USSR under Stalin participated in World War II, which is an imperialist war.
To examine the problems of Stalinism, we must seriously take into note the following fact: the historical bankruptcy of Stalinism would inevitably encourage a vulgar argument that "Since Stalinism finally went bankrupt, socialism and communism are declared to be dead", an argument which is superficial but partly 'convincing' with certain actual background (backed by reactionary imperialist ideology), if the discussion is left spontaneous, that is, if there is no revolutionary intervention. In face of this situation, it is urgent for us to expose the counter-revolutionary essence of Stalinism and inevitability of its historical bankruptcy through revolutionary analysis of Stalinism and to issue an appeal for a fresh proletarian revolution, the second proletarian revolution, as an essential part of world revolution, to overthrow Stalinism completely.
As is evident from the preceding arguments, Stalinism gave up and distorted world revolution by the doctrine of Socialism in One Country. In doing so, Stalinists let imperialism survive and as a result invite danger of imperialist counter-revolution to surround, put pressure on, and even overthrow Stalinist regimes. Moreover, the 'socialist construction in one country' itself had inherent difficulties. Stalinists regarded it absolute necessity to maintain the "state power", "state machinery" obtained in one country and identified their own bureaucratic interest with it. Therefore, they had deep fear of unbounded upsurge of the struggle for proletarian self-liberation and tended to defend their privilege and power from it. Thus Stalinists are materialization of betrayal of proletarian revolution and constitute hostile powers against the development and achievement of the revolution. They sometimes resort to violent, aggressive policies in a certain phase of the development, but it has nothing to do with revolutionary tactics. Their aim is to suppress and prevent revolution under the mask of revolution in order to defend their autocratic Stalinist rule through bureaucratic ways.
Basically, advance of construction of transition society for socialism through proletarian revolution is only possible by emancipation of the proletariat from capitalist wage slavery, in which proletariat exists only as work-force commodity, and also by building up proletariat into a main character of society and production. In order to advance to further stages of communism based on the social ownership of means of production, it is indispensable for proletariat to gain consciousness as international class, to establish genuine class-based solidarity of the proletariat of the whole world and to achieve unity of class liberation and national liberation under a revolutionary policy of nationalities in actual practice.
On the contrary, Stalinists suppress revolution not only on the international level but also in the domestic area. They put proletariat and people under severe political repression and economically exploit and cruelly squeeze working people in the name of promoting productive forces based on the doctrine of Socialism in One Country. Peasants were forced collectivization and heavy labor. Various nationalities, which were to be independent members of Federation and to be united through solidarity, suffered from horrible repressive policy and brutal oppression.
In such an atrocious situation, there could be no perspective of advance for socialism in its proper sense. As long as socialism is conceived from the viewpoint of the theory of Socialism in One Country, no material conditions could be found for construction of socialism as Trotsky suggested, and disastrous domestic class situation as described above would inevitably emerge. Consequently, basic contradiction inherent in the theory of Socialism in One Country would erupt and drive Stalinism into bankruptcy.
It is urgent for us now to expose completely the true nature of Stalinism: Stalinism abandons to develop and promote partial victory of proletarian revolution for the achievement of world revolution both at home and abroad and instead impede its advance halfway, making construction of Socialism in One Country ultimate goal and determining purpose. Thus Stalinism causes transformation of proletarian state into a dreadful counter-revolutionary system. As a result Stalinism is destined to go bankrupt.
Another task for us is to call upon the proletariat and people of ex-Stalinist (bankrupt Stalinist) countries as well as remaining Stalinist regimes to be fully aware of the reactionary and anti-class character of current capitalism-oriented policies of their respective countries and to rise up for a fresh revolution, that is, the second proletarian revolution, as only way for future.
Two other points follow.
The first point: Stalinism denies world revolution by the theory of Socialism in One Country and transform, distort and suppress communist movement whose essence is struggle of proletariat for self-liberation. Consequently, Stalinism by nature distorts and denies principles of Marxism. Therefore, in elaborating overall analysis of Stalinism with criticism of the doctrine of Socialism in One Country, we are required to carry on struggle to take back Marxism itself from the hands of Stalinists. This struggle is a succession of the efforts of Lenin who fought the collapse of the Second International and revived Marxism.
Our theoretical endeavor in these years studies on the German Ideology, The Manifesto of The Communist Party, Critique of the Gotha Programme and Capital as well as Imperialism the Highest stage of capitalism is to meet this impending necessity. Critic of KURODA Kan-ichi's pseudo-Anti-Stalinism (note) and exposure of the bankruptcy and degeneration of his philosophy into a reactionary philosophy has the same significance.
(Note: KURODA Kan-ichi is the head of a counter-revolutionary group, KAKUMARU)
Renegade SHIRAI Akira's escape from, and hostility to, proletarian world revolution, expressed in his attempt to putting the discussion on chauvinistic policy of Stalinist on national problem as opposed to the fundamental issue of Stalinism: the doctrine of Socialism in One Country
The second point is to fight uncompromisingly against the renegade and deserter SHIRAI Akira's counter-revolutionary attempts to damage JRCL.
Shirai exposes through his deeds and writings that he ran away from revolutionary movement in a most shameless way. Basically he is giving up Marxism and Leninism and deserting to enemy camp. What is completely lost in his thinking is the fundamental principle of communism, which is the theory of proletarian revolution, that is, self-emancipation of working class. Shirai tries to present himself as if he is an outspoken advocate of national liberation struggle. In fact, in regard to the current attack of Japanese imperialism (Shirai himself belongs to the imperialist nation!) of tightening immigration control and the struggle against it as a task of the proletariat of imperialist nation, Shirai develops quite irrelevant discussions, rather utters discriminating and even counter-revolutionary words. It exposes that his political intention lies in slandering JRCL. It is surprising that he refers not a bit to his stand on the serious issues raised on July 7, 1970 (by the criticism of Chinese people staying in Japan, directed against Japanese working class as well as revolutionary organizations concerning the political and practical stance on the immigrant problem). He keeps silence on how he himself faced the issue and carried out self-criticism, while scribbling a lot under the title of 'national questions'.
Shirai argues about the questions on nationalities in regard to the Russian revolution during the period from the civil war immediately after the 1917 Revolution to the NEP. In his discussion, he abandons to examine seriously the inner relations between class liberation and national liberation. For him, it is impossible to go into the fundamental question what is the class liberation of proletariat and also what is communist liberation. He evades this confrontation.
Shirai's problem is focused upon his denial of the fundamental recognition, attained by the Third National Congress of JRCL, that the essence of Stalinism should be found in the doctrine of Socialism in One Country, a basic recognition of anti-Stalinism. On the contrary, Shirai names various Stalinist policies one after another, such as chauvinist national policy, cruel policy on agriculture and farmer, etc and put the question of the doctrine of Socialism in One Country as one of them.
The foregoing discussions clearly prove his failure to grasp the core of the matter. We repeat here once again our recognition on Stalinism: Stalinism emerged on the historical stage, in which the transition period of world revolution has already begun and proletarian revolution won victory in one country, but essential imperialist countries remained without being overthrown; Stalinism emerged on this stage through attempts of privileged bureaucrats to take over the achievements of the victorious revolution (state and economy) and to impede the progress of the revolution with an aim of preserving bureaucratic privilege based on the usurpation of the achievements of revolution, and thus the class character of the revolution underwent serious distortion. In the name of defense and consolidation of the 'state', world revolution was abandoned and further development of the victorious revolution in one country was hindered by force.
The whole discussion of Shirai is constructed upon total denial and defiance of these arguments. In dealing with the problems of Stalinism, he completely eliminates the historical character of Stalinism as mentioned above. He notices that Stalin began propagating Great Russian Chauvinism on the problem of nationalities and consequently came into conflict with Lenin before formulating the doctrine of Socialism in One Country. But he misses the essential point of Stalinism: certainly the reactionary character of Stalin's Great Russian Chauvinist policy was already obvious at that stage of the movement (1922-24), but it grew monstrous and gruesome in later developments on the material basis of the existing proletarian state (even in one country) by means of the ideology of building up a 'powerful' proletarian state.
We would rather say that, while Stalin was practicing chauvinist policy on several issues, above all on the Georgian Issue and was clashing with Lenin over this, there was already a certain political stance in embryo, which several years later took distinct shape as the theory of Socialism in One Country.
Let's discuss the matter further. Born out of the Party and the State of the victorious 1917 Revolution, Stalinism grew as bureaucratic counter-stroke against the advance and consolidation of the world revolution as well as the revolution of their own country. Stalinists, developing their political line that was represented by renunciation of world revolution and reactionary distortion and deformation of socialist construction of the revolutionary Russia, found their theoretical tool of self-justification in the theory of Socialism in One Country. When it finally presented itself as champion of 'Socialist Construction', Stalinism fully exposed its essential character, that is, an extraordinarily dangerous system whose victory might bring about a decisive conversion of the world history into an era of darkness.
The argument of Shirai that regards the Stalinist doctrine of Socialism in One Country and Stalin's nationalities policy as only specific sides of Stalinism cannot elucidate the real essence of Stalinism that consists in opposing and betraying world revolution (genuine proletarian revolution). Inevitability of historical bankruptcy of Stalinism and actual development of detestable counter-revolutionary policies of Stalinism, for example its policies on nationalities, would not be clarified by his argument.
In refusing the recognition of the essence of Stalinism as consisting in the doctrine of Socialism in One Country and insisting upon the importance of chauvinism on national problem as opposed to the fundamental importance of the doctrine of Socialism in One Country, Shirai ran away from JRCL's platform of anti-imperialism, anti-Stalinism and deserted to enemy camp, abandoning and opposing the proletarian troop for world revolution. Shirai's advocacy of the struggle against nationalist chauvinism is thus proved to be a lie and is degraded into a tool of anti-Leninism.
(1) Transition period toward world revolution, opened up by the 1917 Russian Revolution, was impeded and distorted by Stalinist betrayal. Split between Imperialism and Socialism was transformed into the divided world rule by Imperialism and Stalinism. Under these basic conditions the post war world system of imperialism and Stalinism experienced a certain development.
Nevertheless, the postwar world was not free from the major trend of history toward world revolution. In other words the fact that transition period toward world revolution has begun on the imperialist stage of capitalist development remains the decisive factor. In 1990's, the postwar world system of imperialism and Stalinism decisively plunged into a process of an overall collapse. Its direct cause was a combined effect of explosion of fundamental contradictions of imperialism and basic contradictions of Stalinism. Underneath this critical development, an epoch-making movement of working class and broad layers of people for world revolution against imperialism and Stalinism was gradually gathering momentum.
(2) Before and after World War II, imperialism was almost driven to a total disintegration of the whole system by massive upsurge of proletarian world revolution, to say precisely, proletarian revolution and revolutionary war for national liberation. But Stalinists betrayed the uprising for world revolution and helped imperialism to establish the postwar world system of imperialism. US imperialism formed anti-communist military alliance with its overwhelming power and completed it as a system of confrontation against Stalinism in the name of combating communism. Thus postwar revolution was crushed in its essential part.
The postwar world system, established under these circumstances, enabled imperialism to go through a postwar development, a development of peculiar character. Eventually in the middle of 1970's, a turning point came: fundamental contradictions of imperialism began to explode as a manifestation of inevitability. The 1974/75 crisis, the first world simultaneous crisis ever in the postwar period, exposed that the postwar development (with its structure of capital accumulation) of the major imperialist countries of the world reached a historical deadlock and that excessive capital and excessive productive forces were weighing upon economy. It happened in a close and inseparable relation with the historical process of rapid decline of US, an axial state in the postwar system of imperialism, a typical example of unequal development of the world (economy) in the stage of imperialism.
On the other hand, the defeat of the US in the aggressive Vietnam War (in 1975), which aimed at maintaining the postwar system as US-dominated system, opened a new epoch of the decline of US and a turbulent process of destabilization of the postwar system of imperialism.
(3) What characterizes the imperialism in 1980's is the overall development of Reagan's policy in succession of the Carter administration, a policy of dual fronts, namely, full-scale confrontation with the USSR and thoroughgoing competition with the rivaling imperialist powers. The other imperialist powers were forced to adopt similar policy in a violent way according to their own interests and intentions. The essential aim of US policy was to overcome politically as well as economically critical situation at home and abroad, caused by the defeat in the Vietnam war, through building up military tension vis-a-vis USSR (a war policy) and huge armament step-up.
Imperialist world economy in 1980's basically went through protracted depression under the pressure of excessive capital and productive forces in a world-scale since the 1974/75 crisis (US depression in 1980-82, Japan's depression in 1985-86 because of yen appreciation and stagnant development of EC economy in the same period). Intensifying competition among imperialist powers added to economic difficulties. The oil crisis in 1973 and 1979 were caused by the rise of oil price that is a special kind of monopoly price determined by international competition and by the Mideast crisis against the background of the deadlock of the development of the postwar world imperialist economy. Its eruption was inevitable.
The Reagan administration carried out a confrontation policy vis-a-vis the USSR and the so-called Reaganomics, that is, a desperate attempt to break the stalemate of postwar development and to prevent the decline of US. It inflicted, however, astronomic increase of triple deficits (in trade balance, balance of current account and fiscal balance) and aggravation of economic crisis. The policy, taken as last resort to overcome the difficulties, brought about speculative bubble economy.
Another important point is that the Reagan administration enforced a counter-revolutionary shift in labor union policy and in social security policy.
Imperialism in 1980's tended to intensify competition among imperialist powers and combined war and military problems with political and economical problems under the heavy pressure of protracted depression. During this process, reliance on speculative bubble economy as remedy for depression more and more gained impetus. In 1990's this inclination grew much stronger.
(4) Imperialist world economy in 1990's at large still suffered from excessive capital and productive forces. International competition became severe and protracted depression heavily weighed upon economy. The world economy was evidently threatened by an impending world crisis of the type of the Great Depression in 1929. Disruption of world economy was an apparent tendency. In order to overcome difficulties produced by contradictions inherent in imperialism, attempts of stirring up bubble phenomena and drive for imperialist war of aggression were feverishly carried on.
The first feature of 1990's imperialism is rapid decline and catastrophic crisis of Japanese imperialism that had once achieved extraordinary high growth of economy during the postwar development of imperialism and provided a remarkable example of unequal development of world economy. In 1980's, still under the influence of depression since the 1974/75 crisis and in face of intensified US rivalry against Japan (exhibited by Yen appreciation in 1985/86 depression), Japanese imperialist economy practiced a lax financial and fiscal policy and caused a horrible bubble economy from the end of 1980's till 1989. In 1990, it developed into a general collapse of economy and a protracted phase of serious depression and stagnation continued for more than ten years. Eventually a financial crisis arose in 1997/98, thrusting Japanese economy almost totally into an overall crisis.
Confronted with an imminent 'great world economic crisis starting from Japan', the Japanese government and bourgeoisie took unprecedented urgent measures against crisis and barely avoided an overall break-up of the financial system. However, it has become evident that Japan's fiscal and financial policy reached a complete deadlock and that contradiction of imperialism is doomed to break out again inevitably in a form of economic crisis.
The second feature of 1990's imperialism is that the US imperialism, after overcoming the depression of 1991/92, went through an extraordinary process of economic boost in the rest of the period 1990's till 2000, and in the later half of that period, plunged into an ultra bubble economy mainly dependent upon stock speculation. As a result, the whole world came to witness a situation in which not only Japanese and European imperialist economy but also economy of the entire world, including China, was barely sustained by the extraordinary bubble economy of US.
In spring of 2000, however, an overall crash of the NASDAQ (US over-the counter stock market), mainly in the IT-relating branch (a fall of over 60% in a year), took place, causing a collapse of New York stock market. US bubble economy was frontally hit and began bursting in a spectacular way. The collapse of the bubble economy will inevitably cause unprecedented serious crisis and severe depression because of the gigantic volume of the bubble economy that continued for a too long period. The whole world will be caught up in a huge whirlpool of economic catastrophe.
The third feature of 1990's imperialism is that the world economy has decisively entered a phase of bloc economy, as is illustrated by the introduction of a single and common currency in the EU. The consolidation of the EU as an economic bloc is in fact a process carried on under the initiative of German imperialism. It will have considerable implications on the German-French, as well as German-British relationships in coming days. Anyway, development of the Germany-led (economic) bloc, with enlargement and northward extension of the EU, will no doubt precipitate decisive split of the world economy in a simultaneous process of the collapse of the US bubble economy, aggravating world economic crisis and dollar.
(5) The year 2000 marked a turning point of the US bubble economy, whose total collapse is going on now in 2001, the first year of the 21st century. Repeated rate cut of interest can no more put brake on heavy fall in the US stock market. The once-working mechanism of the bubble economy, in which extraordinary profits gained by stock speculation produced asset effect and invited expansion of consumer spending, resulting in increased equipment investment and enlarged real economy, now functions in a reverse direction. Stock speculation fell down; US business as a whole, especially the IT-related industries, lost a lot in current profit; equipment investment was pared down and curtailment of production and restructuring went hand in hand.
Terrible crash will repeatedly take place in the US stock market and will precipitate rapid contraction and decline of economy. Japanese economy will be hard hit by it and will be put back to the situation like the economic crisis of 1997/98. Already in January and March 2001, heavy fall began again in the Japanese stock market. Now the Japanese government is obliged to make a promise to US administration to finish the disposal of bad loan. A terrible confusion in economy beyond imagination would probably occur when Japanese economy, under the pressure of drastic and rapid collapse of US bubble economy, is forced to finish the disposal of bad loan. These developments of US and Japanese economies into critical condition will inevitably affect the Asian, EU and the world economy as a whole.
In the course of the development examined above, decline of Japanese imperialism is inevitable. Japan's state finance is already bankrupt together with its finance policy. Recently the Japanese government was forced to issue a deflation declaration. When the zero-interest policy is retained till the elimination of deflation, however, it will be inevitable to follow inflation policy at the end.
As is evident from our foregoing study, every current development indicates that world economy of imperialism has totally plunged into a situation of impending crisis of the type of the Great Depression in 1929, and a process of intensified competition among imperialist powers is going on; a drive for splitting world economy into blocs is gaining momentum. As necessary measures to cope with the situation, step-up of military potentials, war policy of imperialism is becoming more and more focal issue. We have already witnessed the aggressive war on Iraq and Middle East in 1991 and the aggressive war on Yugoslavia in 1999. Besides, a fresh war is being prepared against North Korea and China.
It is to be noted that in a close connection with the development of imperialism, crisis of disintegration of remaining Stalinist regime is intensifying. In today's power balance, historical bankruptcy of Stalinism is revealing itself in an extremely reactionary form, that is, overall operation of the policy of converting into capitalist system in former Stalinist countries as well as remaining Stalinist countries. A vast area of the former Stalinist and remaining Stalinist countries is now going to be a target of imperialist competition of establishing their sphere of influence and re-division of territory. In these circumstances new imperialist wars of aggression and even a world war could possibly be triggered off. The world history has entered a crucial stage.
In order to examine this problem more closely, we study the actual process of the historical bankruptcy of Stalinism in the following section.
(1) In August 1991, the USSR Stalinist regime collapsed. It marked a crucial turning point in the post-war, rather the whole contemporary history. Historical bankruptcy of Stalinism was finally exposed by the collapse of the USSR Stalinist regime.
As was mentioned above in Section 3, the essential nature of Stalinism consists in distorting the transition period to socialism and impeding its progress toward world revolution, proclaiming the doctrine of Socialism in One Country. Stalinists insist that socialism can be achieved in one country even in an exceptional condition, neglecting the vital importance of necessary material basis (of production), which is to be provided by the overthrow of the world market (achievement of world revolution). Further, Stalinists make Socialism in One Country final aim instead of achieving world revolution. Stalinism should, therefore, be defined, in its essence, as a distorted and alienated form of socialist construction in transition period, assuming a shape of bureaucratic regime, far from being materialization of the fundamental thought of Marxism, that is, self-emancipation of the working class.
Stalinist betrayal goes further. Stalinists degrade international communist movement that is originally oriented toward world revolution, into a tool of defending the USSR, and prevent and frustrate the progress of world revolution. Thus, by the help of Stalinism, world imperialism was enabled to survive in its essential part. As a result, under continued reactionary domination by imperialism, exploitation, expropriation, national oppression, invasion, aggressive war, and at last, imperialist world war prevailed. It imposed upon the USSR isolation from the rest of the world and intensified difficulties of socialist construction in a single country under increased pressure of world imperialism. Strengthened autocratic and terrorizing domination was brought forth at home.
Stalinism is historically destined to go bankrupt, because it is essentially a counter-revolutionary distortion of proletarian revolution and consequently unable to offer a new world-historical social system with universal validity.
Now look at the problems of Stalinism more concretely, focusing on its domestic construction in the USSR. First, Russian imperialism overthrown by the proletarian revolution was characterized by considerable backwardness in many social fields and posed serious difficulties to be solved. Stalinist regime tried to make a breakthrough by means of the policy of Socialism in One Country. Slogans, such as 'Increase of Productive Forces', 'Nationalization of the Means of Production (collectivization of farming)', 'Planned Economy' etc. were put forward as criteria of socialist construction and working people were forcibly mobilized for this purpose.
Advance toward socialism can be achieved only when the workers and peasants, based on the fundamental idea of communist revolution - self-emancipation of the working class (self-emancipation of the workers and peasants), play a central role in revolution, run production and society, accomplish world revolution, and build up and consolidate the party and state power as their own organizations, as their own power.
On the contrary, what Stalinists actually practiced was bureaucratic distortion of the party and the state, and usurpation of power from the workers and peasants. Forcefully proclaiming the doctrine of Socialism in One Country, they carried on 'Planned Economy' in order to 'strengthen the construction of socialism', to strengthen 'the USSR as a socialist country'. Workers and peasants were violently driven to work under the norm system, the piece wage system, etc. to meet this demand. This has nothing to do with strengthening of the workers' state or construction of socialism. The USSR under Stalinist rule was just a counter-revolutionary and degenerated state in a transition period, distorted into a Stalinist direction and alienated in a bureaucratic form.
Cruel Stalinist enforcement of the construction of Socialism in One Country culminated in their agrarian and peasantry policy in a most outrageous way against working people. Basically for Russia under proletarian dictatorship and worker-peasant alliance, the agrarian problem was posed as an extremely difficult task. According to Lenin's view, the basic approach to the solution of the agrarian and peasantry problem should be based on the material foundation provided by the advance of world revolution and industrial construction in Russia, and most importantly, this task should be carried out with active participation of peasantry who are convinced in the cause by material assistance and encouraging persuasion. Stalin's policy was, in its initial stage, to pretend to accept peasants' demands while slandering the Left Opposition headed by Trotsky [who emphasized upon industrialization] as 'enemy of peasants'. Then, after smashing the Left Opposition, Stalin suddenly turned to forcible collectivization of agriculture by brutal employment of the state power machinery (in 1929/30).
Stalin abruptly proclaimed the necessity of collectivization of agriculture as prerequisite for socialism to obtain funds for industrialization and to secure foods. The policy of collectivization of agriculture was executed by naked violence and terrorism. Peasants living under the NEP, protested against it. Stalinists answered to it by slaughtering millions, rather tens of millions of peasants, banishing a lot of them by force and thus rendering the farmland a scene of bloodbath. Kolkhozes (collective farms) and Sovkhozes (state-owned farms), which were set up as agricultural system through these violent measures, completely failed to win the support of peasantry or encourage them to participate in agricultural production. Consequently, agriculture remained as crucial defects of the USSR economy even after World War II and constituted a fatal factor for Stalinism.
Stalinist policy on the national question was another horrible example of the practice based on the doctrine of Socialism in One Country. Crying out loudly, 'For powerful Soviet Union' and 'a single socialist state', Stalin systematically trampled Leninist policy on national liberation of peoples with whom revolutionary Russia should necessarily establish solidarity and strive to form the Soviet Union together. Essential core of Lenin's policy on the national question, that is, acknowledgment of the national rights of peoples including separation and independence, recognition of the 'blood debt' to the peoples that have long been oppressed, encouragement of joint effort to seek common interest and to establish solidarity for socialist construction all these Leninist principles were violated by Stalin. He denounced and crushed every demand and struggle for national liberation and national culture as counter-revolutionary nationalism by means of annihilating terrorism.
Stalin converted the USSR into a 'prison of peoples' even worse than in the Czarist Russia. To justify this policy and overpower various nations, such phraseologies were employed, as 'the single Soviet people' or even 'the USSR race', that is, in reality nothing but materialization of Great Russian nationalism.
We know that Stalin had already been practicing such policies on national questions even while Lenin was still alive (but his sickness prevented him from undertaking sufficient political activities). As its most typical example, on the well-known Georgian Problem, Stalin bitterly opposed to Lenin and dared to carry out his own tricky policy. We should take notice of the fact that the underlying problem of the conflict on the Georgian Issue was how to confront the serious (counter-revolutionary) development of the chauvinist policy of the party in power, which intended to defend its bureaucratic interest by means of huge physical power of state machinery. As we have examined above, the self-proclaimed construction of the USSR under Stalinism proved to be a violent process of suppressing revolutionary aspirations and potentials of the proletariat and disorganizing the totality of revolution, by the doctrine of construction of Socialism in One Country. It occurred just in a situation facing the difficult and twofold task of achieving world revolution and advancing the Russian Revolution as a part of it. As a result, workers, peasants and peoples of various nationalities were put under horrible system of oppression. This is why the bankruptcy of Stalinism was inevitable in its history.
We are obliged to omit here the argument on counter-revolutionary degeneration of the international communist movement caused by Stalinism, that is, a problem how renunciation and distortion of world revolution exerted disastrous impact and influence on world situation as well as on the USSR by the theory of Socialism in One Country; the section (3) of 'Crucial Betrayal of Stalinism' refers to this relatively known issue.
(2) As we stated in the preceding section (1), Stalinism was destined to go bankrupt in a certain stage of development because of the basic contradiction resulting from the policy of Socialism in One Country. In the actual development of history, however, Stalinism survived and even made a certain 'advance' in a turbulent period before, during and after World War II. It was owing to the historical circumstances as follows: the 20th century was an era of imperialism characterized by crisis and war; and the Russian Revolution of 1917 opened up a transition period to world revolution. After World War II, the USSR emerged on the world stage as one of the winners of the war and constituted an important component of the '(Postwar) World System of Imperialism and Stalinism'.
The postwar world started on the framework of the Yalta System (based on the agreements of the Yalta Conference). Soon after it was reorganized into the Yalta-Geneva System, supplemented by the outcome of the Geneva Conference, which examined the results of the Chinese Revolution, the Korean War and the First Indo-China War and drew political conclusion from these developments. Thus the postwar world system was established. (See also Chapter III)
Regime of Khrushchev (1953-64), who succeeded Stalin as General Secretary, proclaimed 'peaceful co-existence' and boasted that communism would overwhelm capitalism before long. But what actually happened was just the opposite.
It is now crucial to note that before and after World War II a wave of world revolution swept over major imperialist/capitalist countries and that this ended in total defeat as a result of Stalinist betrayal. Thus imperialism survived in its essential part. Meanwhile, imperialist colonial domination system suffered a fatal blow by tremendous upsurge of revolutionary wars for national liberation headed by the Chinese Revolution. Here again, through their policy of betrayal and misleading, Stalinists helped survive colonial system to be reconstructed as neo-colonial domination system.
After World War II, as the post-war stormy period was cooled down and imperialist countries set off for a fresh development, Stalinist USSR became gradually and basically overwhelmed by imperialism. The USSR had certainly experienced a period of 'post-war development' of economy mainly in 1960s, but the development was subject to fatal defects. The basic contradictions lying in Stalinism made it impossible to encourage workers, peasants and peoples of various national origins for active participation. On the contrary, protest actions in direct or indirect forms, revolts and slowdowns uninterruptedly increased and intensified. All these fundamental elements put brake on the development of the USSR. Meanwhile, there were other factors. Firstly, the 'post-war development of the USSR' depended partly on the introduction of the productive forces at the level of imperialist economy and partly on the adoption of the so-called law of market economy in an extremely limited way. Secondly, foreign policy of the Stalinist USSR, which was fundamentally opposed to achieving world revolution, depended on building-up of military potentials to compete with imperialist powers. It put enormous pressure on the whole society and economy of the USSR.
With the start of the Brezhnev era (1964-82), a long period of complete stagnation of the Soviet economy (as well as politics) set in, because every effort to bring about change in the USSR, even if very restrained in its character, for example, Khrushchev's criticism of Stalin in political field and Kosygin's reform in economy, was suppressed by the conservative forces in fear of endangering the traditional ruling system of the USSR. It is no exaggeration to say that the Stalinist USSR had already been 'internally dead' at that time.
Meanwhile, in the period from the Brezhnev regime to the two following short-lived governments of Andropov and Chernenko (1982-85), Vietnam problem with its full international implications emerged as the extremely vital issue for the Stalinist USSR. For the USSR at that time, armament competition with imperialist powers (the US), especially in regard to nuclear weapons, was the only foreign policy as well as domestic policy to secure their position. The USSR Stalinists, who were exhausted by the pressure of armament competition, intended to break a fatal stalemate both at home and abroad, resorting to military and political adventure though in a limited way. They tried to make use of the balance of the military (nuclear) potentials still existed among the world powers on the one hand and the intense international situation brought about by the Vietnam issue on the other hand.
A concrete example was presented by an aggressive war against Afghanistan (1979). It was an extraordinary case that went beyond the international framework based on the Yalta system (the post-war world system). But this counter-revolutionary adventure completely backfired. First, the Afghan war became a quagmire (for the USSR), resulting in a serious defeat of the USSR troops and inflicting a critical reaction in the domestic situation. Almost simultaneously, there was a serious development of the situation in Poland (the main factor was a rise of polish people). The Stalinist system in the USSR thus rushed into a period of upheaval from the base.
Second, this military adventure of the USSR Stalinists definitely triggered off U.S. imperialists' counter-revolution of the Reagan administration. Naming the USSR 'an empire of evil', Reagan stepped into a dual policy of full-scale confrontation with the USSR and thoroughgoing competition with the rivaling imperialist powers. His large-scale armament expansion policy had also a purpose of propping-up US economy through stimulating war industry. It resulted in bringing forth a drastic change in the military power balance vis-a-vis the USSR, which was thus forced to confront a grave problem beyond its capacity. Increased pressure weighed upon the USSR. The US policy of full-scale confrontation with the USSR and thoroughgoing competition with the other imperialist powers urged Japanese and European imperialist countries to resort to the similar policy. This also added to the pressure on the USSR.
(3) Thus Stalinist system of the USSR (post-war system of USSR Stalinism) finally came to a deadlock. Gorbachev showed up on the stage as a trump card to save the USSR Stalinist system from the deadlock in 1985. All his measures, such as 'Glasnost' (information disclosure), 'Perestroika' (restructuring), New Thinking in Foreign Policy and other policies ended, however, in precipitating an overall collapse of the whole system.
Practical contents of these policies taken by Gorbachev as life-saving remedy for the USSR was externally to ease international tension over the USSR through rearranging relations with imperialist powers, especially with the US, and reorganizing the domination system over Eastern Europe, in a less aggressive and less expansive direction according to the real capacity of the USSR, and domestically to carry out a drastic reform of the rigid, bureaucratic Stalinist system facing a deadlock and being fallen in extreme inflexibility, by deceptive and tricky policies, such as 'democratization', 'information disclosure', 'introduction of the law of market economy'. Fundamentally it was an effort to revitalize the USSR as Stalinist system.
Nevertheless, drastic enforcement of these policies, originally aimed at revitalizing the Stalinist system, actually brought about destructive effect on the system itself. In regard to the domestic reform of economy, Gorbachev's so-called 'introduction of the law of market economy' set free egoistic activities of moneymaking and appropriation of 'public property' by Stalinist ruling layers and managers who made use of their privileged position in the cardinal point of the so-called planned economy structure. As a result, the so-called planned economy rapidly fell into a process of stagnation and decomposition. Externally, his undecided policy of retreat and reorganization triggered an all-out eruption of the indignation of the people there against the rule of USSR Stalinist. Contrary to the expectation of Gorbachev, East European countries one after another began their move to break away from the USSR rule and finally in 1989 the domination system of the USSR Stalinists over East Europe totally collapsed. The three Baltic States also quit the USSR domination system in 1991.
The major outcome of Gorbachev's policies (Perestroika) was in fact a rapid and sweeping emergence of Yeltsin and his political followers. Pretending to be advocates of the workers, peasants and peoples of various national origins who were angry against the Stalinist regime, Yeltsin and his associates pushed ahead with the policy of disintegrating Stalinist system and canalizing people's anger against the existing system into conversion of the USSR into capitalism under the slogan, 'thoroughgoing democratization' and 'introduction of market economy'. He seized the position of the President of the Russian Federation, cleverly making use of the demands of separation and independence of the nations integrated in the Soviet Union, such as Ukraine, on the one hand, and overtly proclaiming Russian nationalism on the other hand. Thus the historical, turbulent process of overthrowing Gorbachev's regime was precipitated.
(4) Yeltsin successfully organized, in August 1991, a counter-coup against the coup d'etat attempt by the so-called old-guard group in the former USSR power structure. His success depended upon a mass mobilization of angry workers and peasants against the old guard that attempted the coup and against the Stalinist system itself, and upon a certain social layer that demanded 'disintegration of the USSR and conversion into capitalism', and finally upon the support and participation of the core force of the military. In December 1991, Yeltsin eventually took away power from Gorbachev.
Thus the USSR Stalinism finally collapsed.
There is a definite distinction between Yeltsin and Gorbachev. The aim of Gorbachev's Perestroika was essentially to break the deadlock of the USSR and to revive it on the basis of the Stalinist system. It ended, however, in drastically aggravating political, economical and social crisis of overall disintegration of the USSR. Different from Gorbachev's, Yeltsin's policy was, though he emerged under the guise of a vanguard of Gorbachev's Perestroika and took full advantage of its political effects, fundamentally breaking up of the USSR, conversion to capitalism and achieving reactionary restoration of Russian nationalism (even including rehabilitation of the Russian Orthodox Church as political tool and resurrection of the Tsarist tradition). His underlying aim was to construct 'Russia as an imperialist power' through converting Russia into capitalism. This policy has been definitely handed down from Yeltsin to Putin. In carrying out these policies, Yeltsin heavily relied on the 'close alliance' with the US imperialism and its state power and it helped him a lot in taking power.
Yeltsin of course shares his roots with Gorbachev. As a converted Stalinist, Yeltsin recruited those Stalinists who were in the pivotal position in the power structure and economy of the USSR as politicians and managers, and also regional Stalinist bureaucrats (of various nationalities), to his administration, persuading them into the policy of conversion into capitalism. He depended also upon the Military Forces of the Russian Federation, which were, at large, succeeding substantial part of the former Stalinist military forces of the USSR, slightly modified by political reorganization.
(5) Russia under the Yeltsin Administration was a social system, in which an ultra-reactionary policy of conversion into capitalism was drastically enforced (with the support of international imperialism) to disintegrate the existing Stalinist system, that is, a Stalinist distortion of the social structure attained by the 1917 revolution. It was a policy of super-reactionary counter-revolution.
The Yeltsin administration, under the initiative of Gaidar, practiced 'shock therapy', represented by 'liberalization of prices' in 1992 (and privatization of state-owned enterprises) as key policy. It was a violent introduction of 'market economy from above', while the large part of the material structures of the Stalinist system (huge monopolistic state-owned enterprises, their organizations and their managerial executives) remained intact. Though practiced as an economic policy, its actual effect was a kind of (counter-revolutionary) political revolution that was carried out to hinder a reverse to the former rigorous Stalinist regime. The results were astronomical inflation, destruction of economy and life, in a word, a hell on earth. It is no exaggeration to say that a violent process similar to the primitive accumulation of the emerging capitalism was enforced in a way totally ignoring people's interests. All through the 1990's, the Russian economy and society experienced horrible days: appropriation of state and public property, abuse of privileged interests under the name of 'conversion to the stock company system', political corruption and rottenness of every kind on the one hand, and imposition of astronomical inflation, unemployment, unpaid wages and destruction of the local infrastructure (electricity, gas, water lines, etc.) on working people on the other hand.
In this process, two kinds of oligarchs (financial-industrial groups or newly-born conglomerates) have emerged in today's Russia. One is a nouveaux riche-type oligarch, having its roots in the financial or distribution sectors of the USSR economy, characterized by private capitalist inclination (business with political connection). The other is a product of the process of capitalist transformation of state monopolistic enterprises of the Stalinist era, a transformation by means of adopting a form of stock company. This does not mean, however, that Russia is on the right track of converting into capitalism or that the mechanism of market economy has begun functioning. Business activities with close connection in politics, pursuit of various kinds of monopolistic interests by the privileged managers of monopolistic enterprises since the Stalinist era, now in a capitalistic form, wide-scale tax evasion and nonpayment of wages by this upper crust these are rampant in the present Russia in sacrifice of working people. They are still faced with a bleeding situation like the primitive accumulation of capitalism.
(6) In March 2000, Putin replaced Yeltsin. What is then the nature of the Putin regime? Putin revived the melody of the national anthem of the USSR era, but he never intends to bring back Stalinism. The fundamental character of the Putin regime is to consolidate juridical and fiscal function of the state power and to establish a powerful system of centralized state machinery, indispensable for carrying out the policy of conversion into capitalism in a full scale, succeeding the achievement of the Yeltsin era, in which destruction of Stalinist system and conversion into capitalist system was carried through in a brutal and catastrophic way as a sort of primitive accumulation. This regime actually intends, through developing the policy of conversion into capitalism, resurrection of Russia as an imperialist power. It is proved by how Putin came to power and established it: it was the bloody aggressive war against Chechen that brought him to his present position. (What characterizes his policy is thorough centralistic authoritarianism and cruel Realpolitik).
Putin, from his stand of capitalist and imperialist conversion, is not satisfied with the resurrection of the Czarist Russian Empire and goes further to succeed, in a certain sense, the Stalinist era, in which, for a certain period, the USSR acted as if it were one of the 'imperialist' superpowers vis-a-vis the US, enhancing Russian nationalism. Russia still possesses a large stock of nuclear weapons and occupies an important geopolitical position as major power with its historical background. For the Putin administration, all these serve as powerful weapon to develop Realpolitik in confrontation with the US and other imperialist powers. Close relationship with China constitutes a part of his politics.
In spite of these policies of the Putin administration, Russia still remains in a horrible crisis since the Yeltsin era. Putin's policy that aims at converting the Stalinist system of the former USSR, a distorted form of the achievement of the 1917 Revolution, into capitalism, is an attempt to reverse the historical development. It is extremely reactionary in its essence. It consistently keep destroying the life of working people and giving birth to the privileged bourgeois class. Its inevitable outcome is explosion of people's anger. Only a fresh proletarian revolution, that is, the second version of the 1917 Revolution, would offer the working people a basic solution to the adverse situation produced by the collapse of the Stalinist system and its disastrous outcome. Also a historical eruption of huge national liberation struggle will definitely take place as a result of the repressive policy of the Putin administration on national rights and lives of peoples, culminating in Chechen issue. Thus Great Russian nationalism and Russian 'imperialist' policies will inevitably suffer a heavy blow.
(7) The collapse of USSR Stalinism is essentially an epoch-making exposure of the historical bankruptcy of Stalinism as a whole in the 20th century. Consequently it concerns by nature not only the USSR but also all Stalinist regimes still alive, such as China, whose decline is likewise inevitable. It is true the Chinese Stalinism was born out of a revolutionary war of victorious national liberation. Also Vietnam has recently defeated US imperialism in its national liberation war. Those countries are much younger than the former USSR in their development after overthrowing imperialist colonial rule over them. Owing to these circumstances, so-called introduction of capitalist policies will be able to go easily beyond the level of Russia and it may seem to be effective as survival policy of Stalinism until today.
Nevertheless, it is essentially unfeasible to introduce capitalist policies by means of an acrobatic way in the economy that stands on the fundamental basis of the Stalinist regime. Imperialists would certainly take advantage of it and put heavier pressure on Stalinism. Aggravation of crisis caused by basic contradictions of Stalinism will, on a certain stage of historical development, drive Stalinist system into definitive bankruptcy in the midst of mounting indignation of working people.
World War III or Anti-Imperialism and Anti-Stalinism Revolution
(1) From the last decade of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century, Stalinism has come to manifest its historical bankruptcy in a decisive form. In the meantime, today's world is witnessing a plunge into an era of fresh and horrible world crisis and world war. To sum up, manifestation of the historical bankruptcy of Stalinism basically means a turning point of the history to a new stage, in which antagonism among imperialist powers constitutes a pivot of development of the world today. In other words, the time has been experiencing a reactionary retrogression to the classical age of imperialism. Of course imperialism today is different from the imperialism that caused World War I and also from the imperialism that caused World War II.
Fundamentally, there is a common basis as imperialism throughout these developments. However, the crisis of imperialism in its final stage of decline has been increasingly aggravated. Imperialism today is an outcome of the recent historical development, in which two world wars broke out and the Russian Revolution of 1917 took place to exhibit imminent world revolution. Thus imperialism was once brought to a verge of transition period of world revolution. Stalinism helped survive imperialism in this historical crisis and the postwar imperialist world system with the US as its pivot was established. Birth and development of the EEC (EC, EU) and the postwar development of Japanese imperialism under US-Japan Alliance were its outcome. The world system under the US domination with anti-USSR and anti-communist orientation went through more than 50 years' development, a peculiar postwar development. But it has finally reached a deadlock. Today's world is threatened by impending world economic crisis of the Great Depression (1929)-type and by intensification of competition among imperialist powers, which inevitably promotes a drive for making economic blocks all over the world. The peculiar postwar development was guaranteed by a unity of world (economy) with the US as pivotal position in Anti-communist Alliance. Now that a new era has begun, an era, in which strife among imperialist powers once again occupies the central position and uncompromisingly aggravates antagonism, we are going to witness a violent, destructive development beyond imagination.
This development on imperialist side necessarily goes parallel with the world-historical process of inevitable collapse of Stalinism. In ex-Stalinist countries, that is, collapsed Stalinism, and remaining and collapsing Stalinist countries, very reactionary policy of conversion into capitalism is being enforced and causing unprecedented confusion and grave crisis never known in the world history. Imperialist powers, which, in the disintegrating process of the postwar world system, are going through intensifying competition and aggravating disruption, aim at absorbing those ex-Stalinist and remaining Stalinist countries or overthrowing their regimes in the course of their competition over the division of the world and building-up of their sphere of influence. This will inevitably produce a fresh picture of antagonism among the powers.
(2) Let us examine the actual development of imperialist competition in various specific forms.
1. Aggressive War on Iraq and the Middle East in 1991. The US launched a sheer imperialist aggressive war against the background of disintegrating crisis of the USSR Stalinism.
2. Critical situation in 1994 imminent aggressive war in Korea
3. Taiwan crisis in 1996
4. Yugoslav crisis in 1998/99, from intervention in Kosovo to attack on Yugoslavia (air raid on Belgrade)
5. Intensification of war-like situation in Palestine and Israel (a US base country for rule over the Middle East) in 2000/01
These incidents indicate that imperialist strategy today is basically oriented toward ex-Stalinist and remaining Stalinist countries as focal target of imperialist competition over the sphere of influence. Imperialist powers are aiming at absorbing or overthrowing these regimes in order to integrate them into imperialist territory. Typical examples are presented by the development in Yugoslavia, that is, from NATO's military intervention in Kosovo to the bombardment on Belgrade, an aggressive war on Yugoslavia and a drive to aggressive war on Korea and China.
To justify these attempts, various pretexts are employed: 'humanitarian aid' 'defense of human rights' etc. Imperialist drive for building up (economic) block will precipitate international rivalry and intervention in every region of the world. There are already several hot spots as follows:
a. Drive toward the East European countries. Participation in NATO of Poland, Czech and Hungary. Entry negotiation to the EU of Poland, Czech, Hungary and Slovenia. Strengthened German leadership in the EU, its expansion over the Middle and East European countries and her drive northward and southward.
b. Intervention war in the Balkan Peninsula and continued war of aggression on Yugoslavia. Intensifying competition among US, EU and Russia over the regions around the Balkan Peninsula and Caspian Sea (with their oil fields)
c. Strife over the participation in NATO and the EU of the Baltic countries
d. Rivalry among imperialist powers and Russia over the oil resources of the Caspian Sea
e. Competition over Asian countries to make them imperialist territory. In regard to aggression on China and Korea, Japanese imperialist intention of establishing sphere of influence in Asian collides with US interest in Asia, and the EU aims to intervene there. South Asia is another field of strife among imperialist powers, Russia and China, especially over the conflict between India and Pakistan.
f. Russia is herself one of the 'imperialistic' powers and at the same time target of imperialist plunders.
Let us sum up the preceding arguments.
Among others, Israeli aggression on Palestine and other Arab nations constitutes one of the hot spots of permanent development of imperialist aggressive war. Here the US imperialism, taking advantage of this situation, intends to establish monopolistic rule over the oil resources of the Middle East, provoking counter-stroke of EU countries and Japan as well as Russia and China.
Major hot spots of the 21st century, which could develop into a tremendous conflict of world-war scale are: firstly, rivalry between US and the EU (especially Germany) over East Europe, North Europe and Russia (thereby clash of Russia with US and EU exerts certain influence over the issue), and secondly and most importantly, competition among Japan, US and EU over their attempts to make Asia a sphere of influence, a competition that could possibly precipitate their strife over the hegemony in waging aggressive wars on Korea and China.
While a world economic crisis of the Great Depression-type is imminent and the world economy is tending to be divided in blocks, imperialist powers more and more violently compete among each other to integrate collapsed Stalinist-block countries as well as remaining Stalinist-block countries. Thus antagonism among imperialist powers will inevitably develop into World War III, as long as imperialism continues to be imperialism.
(3) When we totally examine the developments and lessons of the past 20th century as above and gaining a clear conception of the world today at the beginning of the 21st century, it is evident that we should now raise the flag of world revolution anti-imperialism, anti-Stalinism world revolution. Today's world is not simply an era of imperialism. The Russian Revolution of 1917, a proletarian revolution, blew up a part of imperialist world and once opened up a transition period to the achievement of world revolution. However, the world went through thereafter a ferocious Stalinist counter-revolution and was put under a system of world domination by imperialism and Stalinism. In the further development, Stalinism was finally driven into historical bankruptcy at the end of the 20th century and the world today has plunged into a new phase of imperialist competition of re-division of the whole world, in which integration of the countries belonging to collapsed Stalinist system or remaining Stalinist system into imperialist world territory constitutes a focal issue.
The strategy of the proletarian world revolution today, therefore, should include the following points:
First, the struggle for emancipation of the proletariat of Russia and other collapsed Stalinist-block countries needs not only to confront the policy of capitalist conversion by Yeltsin and Putin but also to work out an estimation of the history of bankrupt Stalinism;
Secondly, workers and people of China and other remaining Stalinist-block countries must overthrow Stalinist state power in a life-and-death battle for their revolutionary advance;
And thirdly, the task of the workers and people of imperialist countries and other countries of the rest of the world is essentially to achieve world revolution that includes revolutionary war for national liberation. Victory of revolution in each country is possible only as a part of world revolution.
Consequently the strategy of world revolution today should be a world revolution strategy and its slogans should be: Workers of the world and people of oppressed nations, unite under the banner of anti-imperialism, anti-Stalinism world revolution!
Revolutionary strategy of the Japanese workers and people is anti-imperialism, anti-Stalinism world revolution. To accomplish this goal, we are required to stop the way to World War III and fight for world revolution. Concretely, as a part of world revolution, Japanese workers and people should overthrow Japanese imperialism through proletarian revolution. Its general political line is:
"In Solidarity with the fighting Asian people, convert Japanese imperialist aggression on Asia into a civil war!"
"Withdraw US bases from Okinawa. Get back Okinawa. Crash Japan-US Security Treaty (Regime). Down with Japanese Imperialism!"
"Stop Building-up of Military State. Stop Constitutional Revision. Down with Japanese Imperialism!"
Fundamental line of the JRCL for the revolution in 21st century is to build up a solid workers' party within working class and people under these strategic slogans and to achieve the victory of proletarian revolution in face of ripening revolutionary situation.
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