Three Worlds Theory, Mao, Deng, and DV Rao’s views
Mao and Deng. Theirs was an association of 50 years, Deng being the General Secretary of CCP most of the time. Two-line struggle was part of CCP’s legacy. They never differed on TWT.
This is part-2 of an article published on the occasion of death anniversary of com DV Rao.
Part-1 was published on July12, 2021: China Communist Party Was Always A Controversy, Before And After Its Revolution, Before And After Mao: Comrade DV Rao.
The words Third world, imperialist exploitation of third world, third world unity etc have been part of political lexicon for the last several decades, across the world, and the global media. There were specialist journals devoted for the cause with those words in the title, despite variations in interpretation. What is this Third world? What are the First and Second worlds? Three Worlds Theory (TWT) dealt with those questions. And proposed certain strategies and tactics for world revolution.
However, TWT has been a stick to beat the CCP, blaming that the Theory was a concoction of “capitalist-roader” Deng, made after Mao died on 1976 September 9. Some use(d) it to slander against communist revolutionary DV Rao too. This article seeks to briefly explain some facts of the related issues because it is useful to understand the contradictions of the present world too.(All emphases added.)
Obviously, theories are dynamic, they keep changing, along with changing conditions and contexts. TWT was one such theory that helps to understand the evolving global scene, particularly the phase when Soviet Union led by CPSU was a social imperialist. With collapse of both, the formulations it contained are no more relevant, except as a matter of history.
“ We do not regard Marx’s theory as something complete and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid the foundation stone of science which socialists must develop in all directions, if they wish to keep pace with life.” (Lenin Collected Works, Vol.4, p.211)
Communist revolutionary leader DV Rao (1917-1984; we remember him on his death anniversary, July 12) often quoted (p.96) these lines of Lenin, and was opposed to dogmatism. Marxism is not a dogma, but a guide to action, as made clear by the founding fathers of MLM.
But for some in India, as also elsewhere, Marxism is a dogma, is immutable, like a veda or the Bible. That was not so for DV Rao.
(Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is our world outlook, A Compilation of articles by DV Rao, Proletarian Line Publishers, Hyderabad, 1993 December. All quotes of DV Rao cited in this article are from this book unless stated otherwise. Page numbers are of that book.)
Many among the Indian communists, from far right to far Left, have been dogmatic. It was with such an attitude they had supported or opposed Stalin and Mao, Russia and China. Observers often classified them as pro-Russia or pro-China. They are not bothered whether they are revolutionary or otherwise in Indian context. The Indian communists often quarreled, even united or split on such criteria, rather than on application of Marxism, MLM, to Indian conditions.
CCP has been opposed to dogmatism. It opposed ossified thinking, and kept fine-tuning its policies. It is well known for its two-line struggles in search of a correct line. “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” it adopted was a result of such struggles and experiments. It was not a brain-child of someone, not least the so-called capitalist roaders.
Dogmatism is at the root of opposition to CCP policies in India as also elsewhere. It is more an obstacle to understand India’s ground realities, hence its importance.
The Indian communists indulged in endless and hair-splitting discussions on them, were often lost in them, failed to apply Marxism to India, neglected work among the people, more so the rural poor, and negated agrarian revolution: ‘Abolition of landlordism and Land to the tiller’ continues to be the principal task to India : all the reforms by the ruling classes did not resolve that problem. Many communist parties and groups also left that cause, lost in fruitless polemics.
On the contrary, DV Rao from 1940s until he died in 1984 applied MLM to India and insisted on agrarian revolution as key to India with almost 65-70 percent people still dependent on agriculture. See the article:
Most of the time, the Indian communist movement was anti-CCP, anti-Mao too, before and after Mao. Its international line was always afflicted with opportunism, tailism, and did not stand on its own legs, explained, DV Rao, who died on July 12, 1984. He was a Member of Loksabha (1957-62), but remembered more for his revolutionary leadership role in Telangana People’s Armed struggle(1946-51). He played a unique role in Indian communist movement, opposed both Right opportunism and Left Adventurism.
DV Rao upheld proletarian internationalism but was always opposed to tailism, and his independent views on related issues from the war period (of 1940s) till his death in 1984 are worth studying.
DV Rao’s basic approach was this:
“ We CRs have no such paths imported from outside. Our path is Indian path arising out of revolutionary experiences of our own country. We learn from revolutionary experiences of other countries. We rely on those of ours. Herein lies the strength of ours.” (p.113)
See the article: Comrade DV Rao: Unique Role In Indian Communist Movement
What is TWT?
To put in Mao’s own words:
“I hold that the U.S. and the Soviet Union belong to the First World. The middle elements, such as Japan, Europe, Australia and Canada, belong to the Second World. We are the Third World.
“The U.S. and the Soviet Union have a lot of atomic bombs, and they are richer. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada, of the Second World, do not possess so many atomic bombs and are not so rich as the First World, but richer than the Third World.
“All Asian countries, except Japan, belong to the Third World. All of Africa and also Latin America belong to the Third World.”
(Mao Zedong on Diplomacy, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1998, page 454.)
The TWT deals with the differentiation of and contradictions between the three worlds. And proposes a Front to isolate and oppose the Super Powers of the First world. At one time there were two super powers; and look out for the more aggressive of the two: For some years it was US, then SU, and now US again, after SU collapsed.
“As a result of the emergence of social-imperialism, the socialist camp which existed for a time after World War II is no longer in existence”: That characterization by CCP was the basis to include SU as a super power. It was adopted by many ML Groups in India.
DV Rao independently explained the phenomenon of social imperialism, and specifically its role in India. ( the classic Court Statement, 1971 Dec, published as a book PDR. )
DV Rao supported TWT, but with his own independent interpretation. CPC had published a detailed exposition of TWT. The related book arrived in India in early 1980s. But even before it arrived, DV Rao had independently dealt with the subject, and published a detailed article (with 12 chapters) in April 1979 (No.1) issue of The Proletarian Line, a journal of communist revolutionaries founded and edited by himself.). Its Telugu translation was also published in the same year.
TWT is no more relevant in the specific formulations it contained, particularly about soviet social imperialism. Soviet Union as also CPSU collapsed. To many it was a shock and unanticipated. But not for DV Rao, the keen student of MLM and the global scene, who wrote almost one decade before Soviet Union’s collapse :
“ The decline of Soviet Union has begun with its aggression on Afghanistan”, wrote DV Rao: “This weakness (of SU) was further exposed in Poland. We should note that it could not march its troops into Poland as it did in Czechoslovakia (1968). But it would be wrong to define it as a weakened super power like the US.” (p.31, DV 1981 May 8.)
DV Rao stressed the need for countries to apply MLM and take their own road. He wrote an article (Dec 1981), Developments in Poland, in which he saw the decline of and crisis in the Soviet model. Poland was a country of the second World, and needed to take its own path. He wrote:
“ it is clear that Polish socialism ended in a miserable failure because the party departed from Marxism-Leninism….Poland has its own features, which do not allow it to imitate Russia in building socialism. On the other hand, it should work out its own strategy and tactics keeping the specific features of the country…(Instead) Poland lined up with SU, and that led to the present crisis.”
Guided by Soviet super power, and playing a subservient role, Poland resorted to a military regime to suppress Solidarity, the workers’ movement. US and West were fishing in troubled waters. That was an early sign of coming events which culminated in the collapse of Soviet camp and East Europe. China led by CCP was taking (negative) lessons from Russia and always had its own Road.
Thus though TWT is no more relevant, the method of differentiation of the world is still valid; it was there during world war-1, and War-2. It was not a class collaborationist theory as alleged by some, nor was adopted only by Mao. It was adopted by Lenin and Stalin. The method is still needed, to work out strategies and tactics of world revolution. All this was explained at length by DV Rao in the above book.
While stressing the need for differentiation into Three Worlds to work out tactics, DV Rao categorically wrote: “Therefore, to treat one super power as a friend and ally of our people leads the revolution nowhere. (p.104).
In fact, he published criticisms of some ML groups who made such proposals, suggesting alliances and fronts against pro-soviet forces in India.
One such was his detailed article SNS Group’s Right Opportunism Under The Garb Of Left Phrase Mongering (1977 Jan 17). It was published in the Proletarian Line No.9, 1980 Sep.)
The article, published also in Telugu as a booklet of 80 pages, discussed and exposed such United Fronts with ruling classes in the name of ‘opposing Indira’s fascism,’ that proposed allying even with pro-US forces in India.
He explained when and how Russia or China allied with Big powers: only when there was military occupation by aggressive powers, as by fascists and Japanese militarists. There was no such occasion in India during Indira’s Emergency. He explained specific features India’s fascism.
Thus DV Rao represented not Right deviation as alleged by some, ill-informed or ill-motivated, but had led the ideological struggle against Right Opportunism Under The Garb Of Left Phrase Mongering. In fact, as a result, such forces got into divisions and splits.
Who are the chief enemies, who are main forces of struggle, and who are forces that need to be neutralized or united are questions to be addressed. TWT needs to be adapted and re-interpreted to suit changing conditions. For instance, US has been the Constant, as a super power that played havoc for the last 70 plus years, being responsible for over 40 million deaths in Asia ever since.
Once it was a cold war by US against SU, now it a renewed cold war by US against China. Russia, once a super power, has now some role to play against US.
TWT : It was Mao’s Theory not Deng’s, not of capitalist roaders
Seeking truth from facts is the kernel of Marxism, said Mao. Deng upheld that view. What are the facts of TWT, whether one agrees with it or not?
The relative position and assessments, “Rightist” or otherwise, about US and Soviet Union (SU) were explained in CCP’s TWT, and Mao was among its chief proponents.
DV Rao, veteran communist revolutionary who was well-versed with Mao and his theories since 1940s, wrote (in Oct 1978) that TWT was Mao’s “contribution to the treasure of Marxism-Leninism:” (p.142). It dealt with strategy and tactics of world revolution, he wrote.
(Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is our world outlook, A Compilation of articles by DV Rao, Proletarian Line Publishers, Hyderabad, 1993 December. All quotes from DV Rao in this article are from this book unless stated otherwise.)
One can disagree with TWT, but they need not distort its authorship.
Prakash Karat, CPI-M top leader wrote in an article:
“ The CPI(M) had in 1974 itself, when this theory was put out by the CPC, criticized it as anti-Marxist, not being based on class analysis. The division of the world into three – the first world of the two superpowers; the second world of other imperialist countries and the third world of the underdeveloped countries – went against the basic analysis of class relations in the international sphere and eliminated the central contradiction between imperialist system and the socialist system..”
He further explained that many CPI-ML groups initially upheld the TWT, though later fell out…some including “pro-Albanian splinters, launched a bitter attack” on the Theory…
“They argue that no such theory was formulated by Mao Zedong and such a bogus theory has been smuggled in by the ‘revisionist clique’ headed by Deng Xiaoping. In order to defend their version of Mao thought, they argue that Mao had only talked of differentiating the three worlds for purposes of foreign policy tactics and had never elaborated and elevated the three worlds into a full-fledged theory.. This has led to these groups becoming soft on US imperialism and ending up allying with US imperialist forces and the parties that represent them in India..”
(Karat, The Marxist, January-March, 1985)
The above lines broadly explain what was the controversy though one may or may not agree in full.
KN Ramachandran of CPI-ML Red Star wrote :
“As a result, as soon as the capitalist roaders led by Deng Tsiaoping usurped power in China soon after Mao’s death, some of them could immediately take positions against them, and their class collaborationist ‘theory of three worlds.”
“Class collaborationist ‘theory of three worlds,” was one by “capitalist roaders led by Deng”. That was how many ML groups simplified it, going against facts.
P J James in his recent article on “China’s Brand of Imperialism” (CC 06/07/2021) wrote:
“The “theory of three worlds” which Deng Xiaoping put forward at his UN General Assembly Speech on April 10, 1974 that suggested “Soviet social imperialism” as more dangerous than US imperialism that altogether disoriented both the task of the international proletariat and national liberation movements was the logical corollary of this rightist deviation garbed in sectarianism. With this, the whole understanding on neocolonialism evolved by CPC as part of its erstwhile critique of Soviet revisionism was also thrown into the dustbin.”
Now let us look into indisputable facts: The TWT is of 1974 period. Mao was very much in command of things at that time; so were his associates of GPCR. In fact Deng was under a cloud.
Mao had indeed stated the theory, February 22, 1974, On the Question of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds, (Mao Zedong on Diplomacy, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1998).
The Foreign Ministry of China shows it on its website with this title:
Chairman Mao Zedong’s Theory on the Division of the Three World and the Strategy of Forming an Alliance Against an opponent.
Officially stated, it was Mao’s Theory, and was the Strategy of Forming an Alliance Against an opponent, as is clear from the title itself. It was not, as is being distorted by some, a mere talk, not Deng’s, not of capitalist roaders, and not tactics, but strategy. Deng upheld it.
The website gives the following:
“ The 1970s witnessed significant changes in the international situation. The balance of military forces between the two super-powers of the Soviet Union and the United States developed in a way favorable to the former. While the U.S. strength was weakened and its status as a hegemonic power met with challenges as a result of its long years of overseas expansion, especially it was deeply bogged down in the war of aggression against Vietnam, the Soviet Union, by capitalizing this opportunity and intensifying its arms expansion, stretched its hands everywhere on the strength of its rapidly expanding military might. There emerged in the Soviet-U.S. rivalry a situation with the Soviet Union on the offensive and the United States on the defensive. In order to maintain its global hegemony, the U.S. made readjustments in its foreign policy and carries out a strategy of retrenchment in Asia and opened the door to Sino-U.S. relations with the aim of freeing itself from Indo-China and concentrating its efforts in the defence of Europe which is its key area.
“To continuously promote the world situation so that it moves in a direction conducive to peace and stability and favorable to the people of various countries, Chairman Mao Zedong pointed out during his meeting with Henry Kissinger in 1973 that as long as we share the same goal, we will not do harm to you nor will you do harm to us and we should work together to counter Soviet hegemonism. We hope the United States would strengthen its cooperation with Europe and Japan and draw a parallel line linking the United States, Japan China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Europe. This is unity against the Soviet hegemonism or the “Strategy of forming an alliance against an opponent”.
China was called by some MLs a “super power” even by 1980-81!
Today there are some – PJ James is only one of them – who brand China as imperialist, and try to appear reasonable. But it is notable that there were some groups in India who criticised China in 1980-81 as a “third super power.” (cited by DV, p.30). Kerala-based CPI-ML Mass Line group, and some Punjab-based CR factions were among such few, mentioned DV Rao in 1981 Foreword to his classic book, PDR in India; it was in the section on TWT.
At that time (1980-81), China with its huge population and limited resources, was still struggling to stand up. But it was already branded a super power! Such were the prejudices and dogmatism. What and who was behind that?
In 1976, Albanian ruling communist party leader Enver Hoxha, who was pro-CCP as against CPSU earlier, criticized TWT in their party’s 7th Congress. That was shortly before Mao died in 1976 September, not after Deng was established as the top leader. Albania was a tiny country with around 2.5 million population at the time. It was among the poorest in Europe. But still “Albanian literature flooded our country” wrote DV Rao (p.30, ibid), who said sections of Indian Left were influenced with such anti-China, anti-Mao literature.
Among the pro-Albania intellectual activists Karat mentioned was PJ James who now wrote an article on “China’s Brand of Imperialism.” (CC 06/07/2021).
If TWT were wrong, as (wrongly) James and others allege, it was not Deng but Mao who was very much responsible for the “rightist deviation that altogether disoriented ” both the task of the international proletariat and national liberation movements was the logical corollary of this.
Why blame Deng for that, and why avoid Mao’s name? It is a question that begs an answer.
We Indians treat some individuals as Gods, as infallible, some as devils, always wrong, and some theories as Vedas. Mao was the god, and Deng the devil.
But DV Rao was categorical, as in his articles of 1980, including one on Mao’s death anniversary (1980 Sep):
“We on our part have never accepted the theory of infallibility at any time. The leaders, however great they may be, are liable to commit mistakes sometimes serious also. But that does not minimize the significance of their unique contributions…Mao was one such leader…” (DV p.160). Hold High the Banner of Mao’s Thought was its title.
When CPSU and Khrushchev denounced Stalin, Mao and China upheld him even as they said he had indeed committed mistakes. Deng and CPC did the same in relation to Mao. (p.164)
Deng himself was self-critical. He famously gave himself modestly 50 percent marks, while he gave 70 to Mao. (Oriana Fallaci Interview).
But History, the CCP, friends and foes alike, subsequently rated Deng very high, as China topped the table in world economy. If Mao was the helmsman of China’s revolution, Deng is deemed as the helmsman of China’s socialist construction, of course ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’.
Deng steered China amid the turbulent waters of imperialism led by USA, turned disadvantage of Globalization into advantage, and China emerged to challenge US, now the sole super power. It began with a truce sought by USA in Mao’s times, when President Nixon requested and visited China (1972 February), the first since 1949 revolution of China. US till then never recognized the giant PRC, but tiny Taiwan was China for US!
China, founded in 1949, occupied its seat in the United Nations in 1974
In 1971, the PRC was recognized by the UN as the rightful representative of China. Here, Chinese Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua, left, and UN Representative Huang Hua laugh as they take their seats at the United Nations General Assembly for the first time.Deng gave his historic speech that dealt with Three Worlds’ Theory.
China had occupied the seat at United Nations, after veto-power-holder US formally and belatedly recognized PRC, founded in 1949, as the official entity, to replace Taiwan which it had manipulated all the time. Mao-led China, PRC, then became a Permanent Member of the Security Council.
It was the biggest defeat for the dogged, anti-PRC foreign policy of American super power. It had seen the writing on the wall, about its inevitable, soon-to-come, defeat in Indo-china (1975 summer) and Vietnam. Soviet super power was then colluding with USA even as it contended for its hegemony. Both these super powers were contending for global hegemony at the time. Soviet Union later sent lakhs of troops and occupied Afghanistan (1979-89), ostensibly to build a “progressive” Afghanistan. Later the same thing was done by US ostensibly to build a “democratic” Afghanistan. Both met their waterloos in Afghanistan, a proverbial burial ground for the occupationist forces as it was the case for UK earlier in the 19th century.
It was Mao-led China that occupied its legitimate seat at UN in 1974, 25 years after it was founded. PRC patiently waited for the day, as China led by Deng waited for Hong Kong in later decades. Both were china’s diplomatic victories without military wars. A similar event is hoped for by PRC about re-unification of Taiwan, erstwhile part of Chinese territory, for which US is the chief obstacle now.
Mao could have gone to the historic UN session, but CCP led by Mao had deputed Deng to do so. Mao rarely travelled outside China, only to meet Soviet communist leaders. Vice-Premier, and Foreign Minister Deng delivered his historic speech, in the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly April, 10, 1974.
Such an important speech was invariably approved in advance by the CCP core led by Mao. The speech on foreign policy was the major occasion when TWT was presented to the outside world.
It is naïve if not disingenuous to blame it on Deng.
It is useful to study it to understand the global scene, as seen then by Mao-led CCP.
Deng’s speech at UN, 1974 April : Excerpts
It was on this historic occasion, Deng delivered his speech which elaborated the TWT of CCP. It was not a jaundiced one that singled out SU, to the exclusion of US and its hegemonism and aggression, as it is painted by some. It was not devoid of class relations as alleged by Karat etc. He explained its rationale:
As a result of the emergence of social-imperialism, the socialist camp which existed for a time after World War II is no longer in existence. Owing to the law of the uneven development of capitalism, the Western imperialist bloc, too, is disintegrating.
Judging from the changes in international relations, the world today actually consists of three parts, or three worlds, that are both interconnected and in contradiction to one another. The United States and the Soviet Union make up the First World. The developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and other regions make up the Third World. The developed countries between the two make up the Second World.
The two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, are vainly seeking world hegemony. Each in its own way attempts to bring the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America under its control and, at the same time, to bully the developed countries that are not their match in strength.
The two superpowers are the biggest international exploiters and oppressors of today. They are the source of a new world war. They both possess large numbers of nuclear weapons. They carry on a keenly contested arms race, station massive forces abroad and set up military bases everywhere, threatening the independence and security of all nations. They both keep subjecting other countries to their control, subversion, interference or aggression. They both exploit other countries economically, plundering their wealth and grabbing their resources.
In bullying others, the superpower which flaunts the label of socialism is especially vicious. It has dispatched its armed forces to occupy its “ally” Czechoslovakia and instigated the war to dismember Pakistan. It does not honour its words and is perfidious; it is self-seeking and unscrupulous.
The case of the developed countries in between the superpowers and the developing countries is a complicated one. Some of them still retain colonialist relations of one form or another with Third World countries, and a country like Portugal even continues with its barbarous colonial rule. An end must be put to this state of affairs.
At the same time, all these developed countries are in varying degrees controlled, threatened or bullied by the one superpower or the other. Some of them have in fact been reduced by a superpower to the position of dependencies under the signboard of its so-called “family.” In varying degrees, all these countries have the desire of shaking off superpower enslavement or control and safeguarding their national independence and the integrity of their sovereignty.
The numerous developing countries have long suffered from colonialist and imperialist oppression and exploitation. They have won political independence, yet all of them still face the historic task of clearing out the remnant forces of colonialism, developing the national economy and consolidating national independence. These countries cover vast territories, encompass a large population and abound in natural resources. Having suffered the heaviest oppression, they have the strongest desire to oppose oppression and seek liberation and development. In the struggle for national liberation and independence, they have demonstrated immense power and continually won splendid victories. They constitute a revolutionary motive force propelling the wheel of world history and are the main force combating colonialism, imperialism, and particularly the superpowers.
Since the two superpowers are contending for world hegemony, the contradiction between them is irreconcilable; one either overpowers the other, or is overpowered. Their compromise and collusion can only be partial, temporary and relative, while their contention is all-embracing, permanent and absolute. In the final analysis, the so-called “balanced reduction of forces” and “strategic arms limitation” are nothing but empty talk, for in fact there is no “balance,” nor can there possibly be “limitation.” They may reach certain agreements, but their agreements are only a facade and a deception. At bottom, they are aiming at greater and fiercer contention. The contention between the superpowers extends over the entire globe.
Strategically, Europe is the focus of their contention, where they are in constant tense confrontation. They are intensifying their rivalry in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Every day, they talk about disarmament but are actually engaged in arms expansion. Every day, they talk about “detente” but are actually creating tension. Wherever they contend, turbulence occurs. So long as imperialism and social-imperialism exist, there definitely will be no tranquillity in the world, nor will there be “lasting peace.” Either they will fight each other, or the people will rise in revolution. It is as Chairman Mao Tsetung has said: The danger of a new world war still exists, and the people of all countries must get prepared. But revolution is the main trend in the world today.
The two superpowers have created their own antithesis. Acting in the way of the big bullying the small, the strong domineering over the weak and the rich oppressing the poor, they have aroused strong resistance among the Third World and the people of the whole world. The people of Asia, Africa and Latin America have been winning new victories in their struggles against colonialism, imperialism, and particularly hegemonism. The Indo-chinese peoples are continuing to press forward in their struggles against U.S. imperialist aggression and for national liberation.
In the 4th Middle East war, the people of the Arab countries and Palestine broke through the control of the two superpowers and the state of “no war, no peace” and won a tremendous victory over the Israeli aggressors. ..
The African people’s struggles against imperialism, colonialism and racial discrimination are developing in depth. The Republic of Guinea-Bissau was born in glory amidst the flames of armed struggle. The armed struggles and mass movements carried out by the peoples of Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Azania against Portuguese colonial rule and white racism in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia are surging ahead vigorously.
The struggle to defend sea rights initiated by Latin American countries has grown into a worldwide struggle against the maritime hegemony of the two superpowers. The 10th Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, the 4th Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Countries, the Arab Summit Conference and the Islamic Summit Conference successively voiced strong condemnation against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, hegemonism, Zionism and racism, demonstrating the developing countries’ firm will and determination to strengthen their unity and support one another in their common struggle against the hated enemies. The struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American countries and people, advancing wave upon wave, have exposed the essential weakness of imperialism, and particularly the superpowers, which are outwardly strong but inwardly feeble, and dealt heavy blows at their wild ambitions to dominate the world.
The hegemonism and power politics of the two superpowers have also aroused strong dissatisfaction among the developed countries of the Second World. The struggles of these countries against superpower control, interference, intimidation, exploitation and shifting of economic crises are growing day by day. Their struggles also have a significant impact on the development of the international situation.
Innumerable facts show that all views that overestimate the strength of the two hegemonic powers and underestimate the strength of the people are groundless. It is not the one or two superpowers that are really powerful; the really powerful are the Third World and the people of all countries uniting together and daring to fight and daring to win.
Since numerous Third World countries and people were able to achieve political independence through protracted struggle, certainly they will also be able, on this basis, to bring about through sustained struggle a thorough change in the international economic relations which are based on inequality, control and exploitation and thus create essential conditions for the independent development of their national economy by strengthening their unity and allying themselves with other countries subjected to superpower bullying as well as with the people of the whole world, including the people of the United States and the Soviet Union.
( Source: Foreign Languages Press, Beijing. Online Version: Deng Xiaoping Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003.
CPI-M and Karat “criticized it as anti-Marxist, not being based on class analysis”. It is patently wrong: What is class struggle in the global arena? It is none other than anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, ant-hegemonic struggle, which is the key theme of the speech. Karat says TWT “eliminated the central contradiction between imperialist system and the socialist system..”
But China always differed with that view, and that was part of the Great Debate. China led by Mao listed several fundamental contradictions at a global level, but Soviet Union distorted China’s stand. It is a “fabrication”, China said, of what is conveyed by it in the June 14 Letter. It had clarified:
“ the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp is a contradiction between two fundamentally different systems, socialism and capitalism. It is undoubtedly very sharp. But Marxist-Leninists must not regard the contradictions in the world as consisting solely and simply of the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp.”
They clarified their dynamic nature:
“ The centre of world contradictions, of world political struggles, is not fixed, but shifts with changes in the international struggles and the revolutionary situation.”
(Apologists of Neo-colonialism, October 22, 1963. It was first published as an editorial of People’s Daily. Mao SW)
Later, when SU turned social imperialist, China said, the socialist camp disappeared, and the related contradiction ceased to exist.
TWT characterized “Soviet social imperialism” was more dangerous than US imperialism, as James points out, but with the collapse of Soviet Union, that too changed. There is no point on harping on that now. In fact, under changed conditions, Russia and China today are “strategic partners”.
China always stressed the global importance of anti-imperialist and national liberation movements that weaken imperialism and facilitate world proletarian revolution. Mao’s famous line, “Countries want independence, nations want liberation, and people want revolution,” sums up the nature and inter-relationship of contradictions.
China quoted experiences of the times of Lenin and Stalin, linked with global class struggles, and explained how its assessments were guided by Marxism. Karat and CPI-M were aligned with Soviet Social imperialism, and supported interventions including military occupations by Russia, as in the case of Afghanistan.
DV Rao’s Independent treatment of TWT
“Differentiation of the world was done also by Lenin and Stalin; It was part of MLM”
Sometime after the Deng speech, CPC published a detailed exposition of TWT. The related book arrived in India in early 1980s. But even before it arrived, DV Rao had independently dealt with the subject, and published a detailed article in April 1979 (No.1) issue of The Proletarian Line, a journal of communist revolutionaries founded and edited by himself.)
In Support Of The Theory Of The Differentiation Of The Three Worlds, is the title of the valuable theoretical work by DV Rao. It contains 12 detailed chapters and a conclusion and equals a 80 page demy book. It was translated and published (1979 August) in Telugu, as a book also.
DV Rao in an article (1982 August 5) wrote:
“We, in our country, are having groups who claim to adhere to Mao Zedong Thought. They do not see eye to eye. At the same time, they are trying to come together either in one organization or in a combination of organizations on the basis of Mao Zedong Thought itself. As we have already stated, leaders of each of the groups have their own understanding and nobody bothers whether he is applying it correctly to the practice of our revolution or not.
If this is the state of affairs with them, there is no point in characterizing CPC leadership as revisionist and taking a capitalist road. On the other hand, their contention is wrong, baseless, arbitrary and slanderous.” (Proletarian Line, No.26, 1982, sep).
Some comrades of Punjab, and their supporters, knowingly or otherwise, accused DV Rao of tailing Deng. Obviously they are off the mark.
In fact, Deng’s UN Speech Full Text was also published in Telugu, soon after it was delivered in 1974. Evidently it was two years before Mao died, and before Deng became the chief leader.
In his work, DV Rao explained how it was consistent with the Strategy And Tasks Of The World Revolution, which is the title of Chapter 2. He quoted and analyzed experiences of the times of Lenin and Stalin.
Lenin himself, DV explained, had made a Differentiation: “ In this respect, countries must be divided into three main types,” Lenin wrote in 1916, “ First, the advanced capitalist countries of Western Europe and the US.”
Secondly Eastern Europe, Austria, Balkans, Russia…“Thirdly, semi-colonial countries …and all the colonies.”
Lenin was discussing “Self-determination of Nations, which was inseparably connected with imperialism”, DV explained: “countries of first two types are capitalist, with uneven development,” some more advanced than the others.
The sixth Congress, 1928, of the Communist International, DV Rao recalled, also made a differentiation, also among capitalist countries, according to the character or stage of the revolution, and adopted a program.
Notably, it was a differentiation within the capitalist world, DV Rao pointed out, not between capitalist and socialist countries.
Do the critics of TWT and DV Rao question Lenin for that, and call him a Rightist, who ignored class question?
Stalin (in 1937) too divided, DV explained, the imperialist powers into aggressive and non-aggressive, and worked out an anti-fascist international Front, that included SU, France, UK and US. Critics blame China’s relations with US, but that was what was done to oppose more aggressive powers (fascist Germany, Italy, Japan)
Do the critics of TWT and DV Rao question Stalin and the anti-fascist Front, and call its authors Rightists, who ignored class question?
DV Rao pointed out that India has been under the rule of compradors who served imperialists. Whenever contradictions sharpened between imperialists, India preferred to side with the dominant power of the day. It was closer to UK for some time, to US later; for some time in 1970s and 1980s, India’s defence and Foreign policies were aligned with those of SU. When SU collapsed, PVN shifted and initiated the pro-US tilt that continues till date.
Obviously, China has been the whipping boy all the time. Anti-China forces have been in the good books of USA and India, who have their hostilities with China. Indian Big media, funded by their Ads and dependent on them, serves as their mouthpiece. Under their influence, those ignorant often take an anti-China stance.
But discerning sections notice that US and West often carry on business with China, and are lured by its vast market. Contradictions between US and some western countries on China policy are visible every now and then. Sanctions and protectionism on the part of the USA have been an issue. Thus Indian Big Business, also has its own interests when it had MOUs with China for long years, and prefers sanctions and protectionism when it suits them.
Modi as CM of Gujarat signed many MOUs with China, and many more were considered in his Chennai summit with Xi Jinping. Now as a junior partner of USA, and with Big business interests at heart, his regime mouths Swadeshi now and then.
DV Rao in his TWT document of 1979 discussed super power contradictions, development economics, proletarian internationalism, war and peace in relation to TWT.
While stressing the need for differentiation into Three Worlds to work out tactics, DV Rao categorically wrote: “Therefore, to treat one super power as a friend and ally of our people leads the revolution nowhere. (p.104). In fact, he published criticisms of some ML groups who made such proposals.
“ We CRs have no such paths imported from outside. Our path is Indian path arising out of revolutionary experiences of our own country. We learn from revolutionary experiences of other countries. We rely on those of ours. Herein lies the strength of ours.” (p.113)
India, it is well known, has scores of parties, groups, and intellectuals who claim to follow Marxism, or even Mao (MLM), who do not agree on the character of Indian society and its State, whether politically or partially independent, semi-feudal, semi-colony, neo-colony etc; many of them respect each other too, but despise China’s Marxism and the CPC; rather they prefer to quote Western Marxists, including those who never had any serious practice of Marxism; many of them have little experience in running a few villages or even factory Unions; but do not agree that China can have its own theories, and its own socialism. It is an irony but a fact.
Professor Deng Chundong, President of the Institute of Marxism, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in an interview, Dec 2016 by Jenny Clegg in London, explained:
Ours is “one of the foremost academic institutions. Its scholars and researchers not only absorb the Marxist classics but also apply Marxist theory to contemporary conditions, using Marxism to develop the concepts and practices of the socialist market economy, whilst critiquing capitalism to understand and learn from the mistakes of the West…
“The westernisation of economics, it has been argued, was one of the reasons for the Soviet Union’s collapse..
“Like China Cuba “did not copy the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, adapted Marxism to the actual circumstances of the country and found its own practices to advance society, developing socialism with its own characteristics…
“Four years ago, China, Cuba and Vietnam had agreed to set up an annual forum for scholars to share the experiences of building socialism in the different countries and to exchange views and opinions…”
North korea too had similar exchanges and understanding with China.
Socialism claimed by SU and East Europe collapsed by 1990-91. It was anticipated that Tiananmen (1989) would be the end of China’s socialism. But the western schemes were foiled. CCP celebrated its Centenary. Communist parties of Cuba, Vietnam, North korea and scores of other countries greeted China and its model. So did others. Xi Jinping followed up with a conclave attended by representatives of more than 500 political parties from 160 countries. That is TWT in work, not the old way, but with a new outlook.
MA Krishna is a mediaperson.