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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Anti-Imperialism—a 5th International and a united front?

Perhaps it was the influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that inspired the Workers World Party, Fight Imperialism, and Stand Together (FIST) to put together an anti-imperialist statement. Because in that statement they mention Chávez:

“Something important happened last November that did not seem to elicit the widespread interest that it should have. In a speech to a large gathering in Caracas, Venezuela, of communist, socialist and left parties, and social movements from around the region and the world, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez made a call for a new Fifth International of socialists and communists.
Chávez said the Fifth International must be “an instrument for the unification
and articulation of the struggle of the peoples to save this planet.”

Even for a successful leader as Chávez who has several allies in Latin America, including Fidel Castro, to set up a serious fifth International and take on the US, the only real empire in the world today and vastly militarily superior to all its rivals combined, this is an ambitious project. He talks of a coalition of communists, socialists and other left parties. To overcome years of factionalism, this is also ambitious. Or it could all be more symbolism over action. Such an international could create economic alliances and inspiration for such parties as the US Workers World Party and its allies here in the US.
The statement released by Workers World, Fight Imperialism, and (FIST) shows that they are serious about launching such a coalition.
To see the statement in its whole, click here.
Much of what is in this statement is pretty straight forward:
It all looks good. The US Democratic and Republican Party are completely united in support of the US Empire. Imperialism is a major part of US capitalism. The US relies heavy on it and has dedicated much of the countries resources, including human, financial, technological and politics, to preserving it.
It is easy to agree on what we appose. We all agree there are no good wars being fought by the US. The Democratic Party will not help us. But under the banner


“These should be high on the list of unifying principles. U.S. imperialism does not wage some bad wars and some good wars. All imperialist wars and occupations are for imperialist interests. The greater this understanding, the stronger the movement will be.
A NEW socialist unity must strengthen internationalism. Workers, the oppressed and poor people everywhere must know that they have steadfast class allies in the U.S. Internationalism means the defense of revolutionary governments like Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It also means support for national liberation struggles, such as the Palestinian people, and all who are fighting imperialism — from Haiti to Venezuela and Bolivia; from Iraq to Afghanistan, Iran, Africa to the Philippines.”

There are a lot of enemies of the US who don’t support the interests of a modern communist movement. The best example is Iran. There is a revolutionary movement of Maoist there, the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)
who I think many of us want to support. But we don’t want to take part in any of the belligerent activities of the US in its effort to replace a backward theocracy with a phoney US style “democracy,” as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We need a united front against US imperialism, but how do we take part when there are political parties who (at least in the past) have supported the Islamic government in Iran? We can’t turn our backs on the Maoist movement there. Yet we can’t be supportive of the constant barrage of attacks by the US.

Mike Ely of the Kasama Project wrote a critique of the statement. It said:

“But reducing imperialism to those acts (and thinking that opposing particular imperialist actions is inherently “anti-imperialism”) kinda misses an important point: It leaves out the revolution, and leaves out the internationalist interconnection of revolutionary movements. It negates our responsibility to expose and oppose imperialism as a system — and to see ourselves in internationalist solidarity with those doing so globally.
It waters down anti-imperialist until it means little more than anti-intervention.”

One area of contention is that of which countries are revolutionary, communist, socialist and deserving of our support. He goes on to say:

“Anti-U.S. does not equal Anti-Imperialist
There are long lists of class forces and political institutions that oppose the U.S. but are themselves far from anti-imperialist. In fact some of them ARE imperialist — in their own right.”

In places such as Gaza, we have a situation where Hamas won a western style election and neither the US nor Israel is willing to accept the election results. This opens up the opportunity to show the emptiness of US style democracy if the imperialist US can’t abide by its own rules. I don’t support Hamas and consider them reactionary and yet they have a right to rule as long as the people there have chosen them.
These are difficult contradictions of being a Communist Revolutionary. We can support other minor parties in the Gaza. We can refuse to support Hamas on principles. But we don’t have a lot of realistic options there that satisfy our aim of opposing US imperialist policies and supporting communist revolution.
North Korea has fought an anti-imperialist war directly against the US and it was reluctantly supported by Mao’s China. I think there is nothing revolutionary or anti-imperialist in supporting China today, but how can we not support the socialist government of the DPR of North Korea’s right to exist. The same can be said of Cuba. As Maoists we don’t endorse them as a true socialist model that we would encourage others to emulate. But they have a right to exist and allowing the US to destroy these governments would be a great victory for US imperialism. The main danger in supporting any third world country that suppresses dissent is if that country falls, as Albania did, and the opposition is stronger than any of us anticipated.
If Chávez can start an international that gives room to the communist revolutionaries, it may provide us some breathing room and a stage to promote real revolution. We may be able to work with the Workers World Party on some issues, but maybe not all. That may be as good as a united front gets and it’s probably better than nothing.

-សតិវ អតុ

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