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 Chapter  XIII

Tactics of the Class Struggle of the Proletariat


Marx’s Theoretical Basis

Leninist Tactical Principles

The Three Magic Weapons



The Worker-Peasant Alliance

Leadership of the Proletariat

Lenin's Thesis on National and Colonial Question

Enrichment and Development of the Leninist Thesis on United Front by Mao


Forms of Armed Revolution

Mao's Theory of Protracted People’s War


Just and Unjust Wars

Tactics during Imperialist War

Mao’s Development of the Line on World War and Peace



Marx's theoretical basis

Lenin thus explained the basis of Marx’s tactics of class struggle:

"Only an objective consideration of the sum total of reciprocal relations of all the classes of a given society without exception, and, consequently, a consideration of the objective stage of development of that society and of the reciprocal relations between it and other societies, can serve as a basis for correct tactics of the advanced class. At the same time, all classes and all countries are regarded not statically, but dynamically, i.e., not in a state of immobility, but in motion (the laws of which derive from the economic conditions of existence of each class). Motion, in its turn, is regarded not only from the standpoint of the past, but also from the standpoint of the future, and, moreover, not in accordance with the vulgar conception of the ‘evolutionists’, who see only slow changes, but dialectically." 117

Further tactics must be based on the ebbs and flows of the movement. Thus, "At each stage of development, at each moment, the tactics of the proletariat must take account of this objectively inevitable dialectics of human history, on the one hand utilising the periods of political stagnation or of sluggish, so-called ‘peaceful’ development in order to develop the class consciousness, strength and fighting capacity of the advanced class, and, on the other hand, conducting all this work of utilisation towards the ‘final aim’ of the movement of this class and towards the creation in it of the ability to accomplish the practical solution of great tasks in the great days in which ‘twenty years are embodied’" 117, i.e., in periods of revolutionary crisis.

Finally, "The Communist Manifesto set forth the fundamental Marxist principle on the tactics of the political struggle: ‘The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the momentary interests of the working class ; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement.’" 117

Leninist Tactical Principles

During the period of the domination of the Second International, "there were fragmentary and detached ideas about tactics and strategy, but no tactics or strategy as such..

"Only in the subsequent period, the period of direct action by the proletariat, the period of proletarian revolution, when the question of overthrowing the bourgeoisie became a question of immediate practical action; when the question of the reserves of the proletariat (strategy) became one of the most burning questions ; when all forms of struggle and of organisation, parliamentary and extra-parliamentary (tactics), had quite clearly manifested themselves — only in this period could an integral strategy and elaborated tactics for the struggle of the proletariat be worked out. It was precisely in this period that Lenin brought out into the light of day the brilliant ideas of Marx and Engels on tactic and strategy that had been suppressed by the opportunists of the Second International. But Lenin did not confine himself to restoring particular tactical propositions of Marx and Engels. He developed them further and supplemented them with new ideas and propositions, combining them all into a system of rules and guiding principles for the leadership of the class struggle of the proletariat. Lenin’s pamphlets, such as What Is To Be Done?, Two Tactics, Imperialism, The State and Revolution, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism, undoubtedly constitute priceless contributions to the general treasury of Marxism, to its revolutionary arsenal. The strategy and tactics of Leninism constitute the science of leadership in the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat." 118 — Stalin, Foundations of Leninism.

Stalin systematically defined and formulated Lenin’s teachings. He explained,

"Strategy is the determination of the direction of the main blow of the proletariat at a given stage of the revolution, the elaboration of a corresponding plan for the disposition of the revolutionary forces (main and secondary reserves), the fight to carry out this plan throughout the given stage of the revolution." 118

"Tactics are the determination of the line of conduct of the proletariat in the comparatively short period of the flow or ebb of the movement, of the rise or decline of the revolution, the fight to carry out this line by means of replacing old forms of struggle and organisation by new ones, old slogans by new ones, by combining these forms, etc..

"Tactics deal with the forms of struggle and the forms of organisation of the proletariat, with their changes and combinations. During a given stage of the revolution tactics may change several times, depending on the flow or ebb, the rise or decline, of the revolution." 119

Lenin had summed up the experiences of the proletariat in the Russian Revolution and drawn lessons of international significance to the proletariat in his work, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism, which he prepared, in particular, for the Comintern. Stalin summarised the tactical principles in it as follows:

a) the principle that the nationally peculiar and nationally specific features in each separate country must unfailingly be taken into account by the Comintern when drawing up guiding directives for the working-class movement of the country concerned;

b) the principle that the Communist Party of each country must unfailingly avail itself of even the smallest opportunity of gaining a mass ally for the proletariat, even if a temporary, vacillating, unstable and unreliable ally;

c) the principle that unfailing regard must be paid to the truth that propaganda and agitation alone are not enough for the political education of the vast masses, that what is required for that is the political experience of the masses themselves."120

The Three Magic Weapons

Mao scientifically applied and developed Marxist-Leninist principles in concrete class struggles of the Chinese Revolution. He applied dialectics to the development of the forms of organisation and forms of struggle of the revolution and advanced the theory of the dialectical relationship between them in the course of the revolution in colonial and semi-colonial countries. He summed it up in a most simple and significant manner in his theory of the three magic weapons of the New Democratic Revolution– Party, People’s Army and the united front. He expressed their relationship in the following manner:

"the united front and armed struggle are the two basic weapons for defeating the enemy. The united front is a united front for carrying on armed struggle. And the Party is the heroic warrior wielding the two weapons, the united front and the armed struggle, to storm and shatter the enemy’s positions. That is how the three are related to each other."121

Mao also developed the tactical and organisational principles governing each of the three magic weapons. He drew up the laws governing the strategy and tactics of the armed struggle and qualitatively developed the Marxist science of war. He summed up the laws governing the united front and took Marxist understanding regarding this too to a new level. He also made significant contributions to the understanding of Party building.

2. Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution and
Proletarian-Socialist Revolution

The Marxist theory of class struggle distinguishes between the bourgeois revolution and the proletarian revolution. They are distinguished by the different tasks or aims which are undertaken in each.

The task of the bourgeois revolution is, in the economic sphere, the abolition of feudalism or the remnants of feudalism and the establishment of conditions for the free development of capitalism; and in the political sphere, the abolition of all remnants of absolutism and autocracy and the establishment of parliamentary democracy with equal bourgeois rights for all citizens. In view of this political task, the bourgeois revolution is often called the bourgeois-democratic revolution, or simply the democratic revolution.

The task of the proletarian revolution is, in the economic sphere, to abolish capitalist ownership and establish public socialist ownership of the means of production; and in the political sphere, to establish proletarian democracy, the dictatorship of the proletariat. In view of this task it is the socialist revolution.

Marx taught that the proletarian revolutionaries’ task of advancing to the socialist revolution was inseparable from the task of carrying through the bourgeois-democratic revolution. For the socialist revolution could not be victorious except on condition that the fight was waged for democracy and against feudalism and absolutism. Therefore it was asserted in the ‘Communist Manifesto’, that the Communists (in Germany) would "fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty bourgeoisie."57 This support for the bourgeoisie was however not intended to allow capitalism to continue for a long period of time. Thus the Communists, would, while fighting along with the bourgeoisie, "never cease for a single instant, to instil into the working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the ..workers may straightway use, as so many weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy, and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes, ..the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin." 57

Lenin further developed the theory of proletarian revolution on the basis of an analysis of the conditions of imperialism. The main conclusions of Lenin’s theory of proletarian revolution were summarised by Stalin as follows:

"..the first conclusion: intensification of the revolutionary crisis within the capitalist countries and growth of the elements of an explosion on the internal, proletarian front in the ‘metropolises.’

"..the second conclusion: intensification of the revolutionary crisis in the colonial countries and growth of the elements of revolt against imperialism on the external, colonial front.

"..the third conclusion: that under imperialist wars cannot be averted, and that a coalition between the proletarian revolution in Europe and the colonial revolution in the East in a united world front of revolution against the world front of imperialism is inevitable.

"The front of capital will be pierced where the chain of imperialism is weakest, for the proletarian revolution is the result of the breaking of the chain of the world imperialist front at its weakest link;" 58

Thus Lenin brought out the link and basic unity between the proletarian revolutions in the imperialist countries and the ant-imperialist national liberation revolutionary struggles in the colonial countries.

Mao, basing himself on Lenin’s theory of proletarian revolution, clarified it further through the theory of New Democracy. Referring to the conditions after the outbreak of World War I and the October Socialist Revolution, he explained that,

"In this era, any revolution in a colony or semi-colony that is directed against imperialism, i.e., against the international bourgeoisie or international capitalism, no longer comes within the old category of the bourgeois-democratic world revolution, but within the new category, it is no longer part of the old bourgeois, or capitalist, world revolution, but is part of the new world revolution, the proletarian-socialist world revolution. Such revolutionary colonies and semi-colonies can no longer be regarded as allies of the counter-revolutionary front of world capitalism; they have become allies of the revolutionary front of world socialism." 59 On this basis he elaborated the politics, economy and culture of New Democracy.

Later, on the basis of an analysis of the conditions in the period following the World War II, Mao further advanced the Leninist thesis of revolution breaking out at the weakest link in the imperialist chain. Thus in the famous June 14th 1963 CPC letter to the CPSU regarding the general line of the international communist movement, it was asserted,

"The various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are concentrated in the vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America; these are the most vulnerable areas under imperialist rule and the storm-centres of world revolution dealing direct blows at imperialism." 60

Thus Mao not only showed how the anti-imperialist revolutions of the colonial countries were an integral part of the World Socialist Revolution, he also pointed that they would deal the decisive blows in this revolution.

3. Tactics in the above three stages of revolution

The basic principles of strategy and tactics stated by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao had evolved in the course of the advancement of world revolution. Starting with the bourgeois democratic revolutions until the mid 19th century followed by the Paris Commune and Russian and Chinese revolutions, the Marxist understanding regarding the strategy and tactics, party, UF, forms of struggles, attitude towards nationality question, stand point on war etc., have undergone significant changes, they enriched with every advance made in the world revolution and through creative application of Marxist theory to the concrete conditions of a particular revolution. More specifically, the three stages mentioned above the Bourgeois Revolution, the Socialist and New Democratic Revolutions – had given birth to specific strategy and tactics in the countries where the respective revolutions occured.

Marx and Engels, living under conditions of developing capitalism that saw the unfolding of the bourgeois democratic revolutions in Europe, recognised that the proletariat was the new, rising, revolutionary force, that it was still too weak to takeover the leadership of the revolution. The tactics of the proletariat then was to advance with the revolutionary section of the bourgeoisie to overthrough feudal reaction, and then continue the fight against the bourgeoisie for establishing the working class state.

Marx and Engels clearly spelt out their approach towards the various classes and class organisations of the period. Thus in the Communist Manifesto they declared their readiness to ally and support those sections of the bourgeoisie who were ready to fight the feudal reactionaries and the conservative bourgeoisie. Similarly, in their ‘Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League’, in 1850, they clearly laid down their tactical approach to their allies — the petty bourgeois democrats:

"The relation of the revolutionary workers’ party to the petty-bourgeois democrats is this: it marches together with them against the faction which it aims at overthrowing, it opposes them in everything whereby they seek to consolidate their position in their own interests....

"...While the democratic petty bourgeois wish to bring the revolution to a conclusion as quickly as possible, and with the achievement, at most, of the above demands, it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent, until all more or less possessing classes have been forced out of their position of dominance, until the proletariat has conquered state power, and the association of proletarians, not only in one country but in all the dominant countries of the world, has advanced so far that competition among the proletarians of these countries has ceased and that at least the decisive productive forces are concentrated in the hands of the proletarians. For us the issue cannot be the alteration of private property but only its annihilation, not the smoothing over of class antagonisms but the abolition of classes, not the improvement of existing society but the foundation of a new one." 123

Simultaneously, however Marx saw the weakness and unreliability of the bourgeoisie. He "declared that the cause of the failure of the Revolution of 1848 was that the bourgeoisie had preferred peace with slavery to the mere prospect of a fight for freedom."124 As the proletariat started growing in strength, the bourgeois started fearing revolution from the proletariat more than its desire to overthrow the feudal reactionaries. Thus, in 1870, Engels pointed out, in the case of Germany, the bourgeoisie had started allying with reactionaries like the monarchy, the big feudal nobility, the Junkers and even the priests. "And the more the proletariat developed, the more it felt as a class and acted as a class, the more faint-hearted did the bourgeois become." 125 Thus the revolutionary potential of the bourgeoisie started reducing rapidly and with it the possibility of it providing consistent leadership in any revolutionary upheaval. Also the proletariat could not merely play the role of supporter in the bourgeois democratic revolution.

The Worker-Peasant Alliance

Engels went on to point out that the proletariat had to seek its allies. He pointed to the petty bourgeois artisans and shopkeepers as unreliable allies, who nevertheless, had "very good elements among them, who join the workers of their own accord."125 The lumpen proletariat, which some worker leaders used, Engels rejected as "the worst of all the possible allies." 125

He pointed out that the small peasants were reliable allies of the proletariat because their class interests and salvation lay only with the proletariat. Further the farm labourers were the "most numerous and most natural allies" of the proletariat; it was a most urgent task "to galvanise and draw into the movement this class." 125

This idea of a worker-peasant alliance had earlier emerged from Marx, in 1856, in a letter to Engels. It was again reasserted in 1895 by Engels in his Introduction to Marx’s Class Struggles in France, when he pointed out that no lasting victory was possible for the Socialists in Germany and France unless they won over the peasantry.

It was however Lenin who developed to the fullest this understanding of the worker-peasant alliance and brilliantly put it into practice during the course of the Russian Revolution. He explained in a clear-cut manner that it was the peasantry primarily who due to their material conditions were bound to be the natural allies of the proletariat in the revolution. Stalin summarises the Leninist understanding as follows:

"The question is as follows: Are the revolutionary potentialities latent in the peasantry by virtue of certain conditions of its existence already exhausted, or not; and if not, is there any hope, any basis, for utilising these potentialities for the proletarian revolution, for transforming the peasantry, the exploited majority of it, from the reserve of the bourgeoisie which it was during the bourgeois revolutions in the West and still is even now, into a reserve of the proletariat, into its ally?

"Leninism replies to this question in the affirmative, i.e., it recognises the existence of revolutionary capacities in the ranks of the majority of the peasantry, and the possibility of using these in the interests of the proletarian dictatorship. ...

"Hence the practical conclusion that the toiling masses of the peasantry must be supported in their struggle against bondage and exploitation, in their struggle for deliverance from oppression and poverty. ..What we have in mind here is support for a movement or struggle of the peasantry which directly or indirectly, facilitates the emancipation movement of the proletariat, which, in one way or another, brings grist to the mill of the proletarian revolution, and which helps to transform the peasantry into a reserve and ally of the working class." 126

Leadership of the Proletariat

"The bourgeois revolution in the West (Britain, France, Germany, Austria) took ..a different road. There, hegemony in the revolution belonged not to the proletariat, which by reason of its weakness did not and could not represent an independent political force, but to the liberal bourgeoisie. There the peasantry obtained its emancipation from feudal regimes, not at the hands of the proletariat, which was numerically weak and unorganised, but at the hands of the bourgeoisie...There the peasantry acted as the reserve of the bourgeoisie." 127

However as the class struggle advanced the proletariat in many countries became an independent political force. Simultaneously, the liberal bourgeoisie lost its revolutionary spirit. In this context the question of the leadership of the proletariat over the democratic revolution came to the fore. However the reformist and revisionist leaders of the Second International refused to accept this reality and continued to opportunistically accept as dogma, the leadership of the bourgeoisie over the bourgeois-democratic revolution.

However during the Russian bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1905, in his famous work, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, Lenin pointed out,

"The outcome of the revolution depends on whether the working class will play the part of a subsidiary to the bourgeoisie, a subsidiary that is powerful in the force of its onslaught against the autocracy but impotent politically, or whether it will play the part of leader of the people’s revolution." 128

Further in his draft resolutions for the Fifth Party Congress in1907, he insisted,

"Only the proletariat can bring the democratic revolution to its consummation, the condition being that the proletariat, as the only thoroughly revolutionary class in modern society, leads the mass of the peasantry and imparts political consciousness to its struggle against landed proprietorship and the feudal state." 129

Thus, Lenin pointed out in an unequivocal manner, that the hegemony of the proletariat over the democratic revolution, with the worker-peasant alliance under the leadership of the proletariat, was the basis–the condition–for the success of the revolution.

He also spelt out the relationship of the proletariat with all the other principal classes during the course of the democratic and proletarian revolution. These alliances have been summarised by Stalin, in the form of the fundamental slogans. Thus the fundamental slogan for the bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolution was,

"‘Together with the whole of the peasantry, against the tsar and the landlords, while neutralising the bourgeoisie, for the victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution.’ " 130

Thus in this stage, the whole of the peasantry, including the rich peasantry, were to be considered as allies in the battle against the feudal lords. The bourgeoisie, the former leader of the revolution, was however to be neutralised by winning over the leadership of the other sections of the toiling masses–primarily the peasantry–from under its hegemony.

However in the next stage of the proletarian revolution the class alignments changed. The rich peasant, being a rural bourgeois, was an enemy of socialism. Also the vacillations of the middle peasantry had to be neutralised in this battle. Thus the fundamental slogan representing the relationship of the various classes to the proletariat and to the revolution was,

"‘Together with the poor peasantry, against capitalism in town and country, while neutralising the middle peasantry, for the power of the proletariat." 130

Thus in the battle for socialism it was the masses of the poor peasantry who were the staunch allies of the proletariat, as their material conditions were such that they could easily see that their interests best lay with the proletarian revolution.

Lenin's Thesis On The National And Colonial Question

In the context of the upsurge of the national liberation struggles in the early part of the twentieth century, and particularly the formation of new Communist Parties in the colonies and semi-colonies, the question of the tactics of the proletariat in the anti-imperialist struggles came to the forefront. Lenin laid the theoretical basis for this, in his Theses on the National and Colonial Question presented before the Second Congress of the Comintern, in 1920. Taking into account the peculiar conditions in these countries, Lenin proposed an alliance with the national bourgeoisies of these countries in the fight against imperialism for national liberation. Thus his Theses stated, "the Communist International must enter into a temporary alliance with bourgeois democracy in colonial and backward countries, but must not merge with it and must under all circumstances uphold the independence of the proletarian movement even if in its most rudimentary form;" 131

The essence of this understanding was also the basis of the Comintern’s Fourth Congress call, in 1922, for an anti-imperialist united front. It stated, "in the colonial East the slogan that must be emphasised at the present time is that of the anti-imperialist united front. The expediency of this slogan follows from the prospect of a prolonged and protracted struggle with world imperialism which demands the mobilisation of all revolutionary elements."132 However it also stressed, "The workers’ movement in the colonial and semi-colonial countries must first of all win for itself the position of an independent revolutionary factor in the anti-imperialist front as a whole. Only when its importance as an independent factor is recognised and its political independence secured, are temporary agreements with bourgeois democracy permissible and necessary." 132

Thus Lenin laid the basis for the formation of united fronts to achieve national liberation from imperialism in the colonies and semi-colonies. This understanding was the basis for the formation of the united front of the Chinese Communist Party with the Kuomintang in 1923.

Enrichment and Development of the Leninist Thesis on United Front by Mao

Mao applied the Leninist Thesis to the concrete conditions of China. In 1926, he presented his brilliant class analysis of Chinese Society. It was a model of a correct analysis of the situation faced by most colonial and semi-colonial countries. It correctly differentiated the various categories within the peasantry and the attitude of each towards the revolution. It also differentiated the comprador and non-comprador sections of the bourgeoisie and determined the attitude of the proletariat towards each of them. It answered the question of the enemies, and the reliable and vacillating allies of the revolution. It said,

"To sum up, it can be seen that our enemies are all those in league with imperialism — the warlords, the bureaucrats, the comprador class, the big landlord class and the reactionary section of the intelligentsia attached to them. The leading force in our revolution is the industrial proletariat. Our closest friends are the entire semi-proletariat and petty bourgeoisie. As for the vacillating middle bourgeoisie, their right-wing may become our enemy and their left-wing may become our friend, but we must be constantly on or guard and not let them create confusion within our ranks." 133

This correct analysis was however not accepted by the leadership of the CPC. Also due to errors in estimation of the Comintern and Stalin, the CPC was dominated by various ‘left’ who committed various errors in their approach to the classes in the united front. It was only in 1935, after Mao’s leadership was again established over the party, that a correct approach was again adopted to the united front. In that period however due to the particular situation of the Japanese aggression a call was given for forming an anti-Japanese united front which even included certain sections of the comprador and landlords who were ready to fight Japanese imperialism.

During this period of the anti-Japanese united front, in 1939, Mao made a comprehensive summing up of the experience of the united front of various types and formulated the laws governing the united front:-

"In the last eighteen years, the united front of the Chinese proletariat with the bourgeoisie and other classes has developed under three different sets of circumstances or through three different stages: the First Great Revolution from 1924 to 1927, the War of Agrarian Revolution from 1927 to 1937, and the present War of Resistance Against Japan. The history of the three stages has confirmed the following laws:

"(1) The Chinese national bourgeoisie will take part in the struggle against imperialism and the feudal warlords at certain times and to a certain extent, because foreign oppression is the greatest oppression to which China is subjected. Therefore, at such times, the proletariat should form a united front with the national bourgeoisie and maintain it as far as possible. (2) In other historical circumstances, the Chinese national bourgeoisie will vacillate and defect because of its economic and political flabbiness. Therefore the composition of China’s revolutionary united front will not remain constant at all times, but is liable to change. At one time the national bourgeoisie may take part in it, at another it may not. (3) The Chinese big bourgeoisie, which is comprador in character, is a class which directly serves imperialism and is fostered by it. Hence the comprador Chinese big bourgeoisie has always been a target of the revolution. However, different groups within this big bourgeoisie are backed by different imperialist powers, so that when contradictions among these powers become sharper and when the edge of the revolution is mainly directed against a particular power, the big bourgeois groups dependent upon the other powers may join the struggle against that particular such times, in order to weaken the enemy and add to its own reserves, the Chinese proletariat may form a united front with these groups and should maintain it as far as possible, provided it is advantageous to the revolution. (4) The comprador big bourgeoisie continues to be most reactionary even when it joins the united front alongside the proletariat in struggling against the common enemy. It stubbornly opposes any ideological, political and organisational development of the proletariat and the proletarian party, tries to impose restrictions on them and employs disruptive tactics such as deception, blandishments, ‘corrosion’ and savage attacks against them; moreover, it does all this to prepare for capitulating to the enemy and splitting the united front. (5) The peasantry is the firm ally of the proletariat. (6) The urban petty bourgeoisie is a reliable ally." 134

These laws thus in a very precise manner give the theoretical and practical foundation of the united front. Though Mao presented them then as the laws of the Chinese united front, they have universal significance for the revolutions of all the colonies and the semi-colonies. After the victory in the Anti-Japanese War and the Civil war against Chiang Kai-shek, and the establishment of the People’s Republic, the essence of these laws were again elaborated by Mao in 1956, while summing up the experiences of the CPC relevant to similar countries ‘oppressed by imperialism and feudalism’. While speaking to representatives of Latin American Communist Parties, he said,

"The peasants are the chief ally of the proletariat. ...

"The comprador-bourgeoisie is always a running dog of imperialism and a target of the revolution. Different groups of the comprador-bourgeoisie belong to the monopoly capitalist groups of different imperialist countries such as the United Stared, Britain and France. In the struggle against the various comprador groups it is necessary to exploit the contradictions between imperialist countries, first coping with one of them and striking at the chief immediate enemy. For instance, in the past the Chinese comprador-bourgeoisie consisted of pro-British, pro-U.S. and pro-Japanese groups. During the War of Resistance Against Japan we exploited the contradiction between Britain and the United States on the one hand and Japan on the other, first striking down the Japanese aggressors and the comprador group depending on them. Then we turned round to deal blows at the U.S. and British aggressor forces and bring down the pro-U.S. and pro-British comprador groups. The landlord class also consists of different factions. The most reactionary landlords are few in number, and those who are patriotic and favour fighting imperialism should not be lumped together with them when we strike. Moreover, a distinction must be made between the big and small landlords. Don’t strike at too many enemies at a time, strike at a few, and even with big landlords deal your blows only at the most reactionary handful. To strike at everyone may seem very revolutionary, but actually it causes great harm.

"The national bourgeoisie is an opponent of ours. There is a saying in China, ‘Opponents always meet.’ One experience of the Chinese revolution is that caution is needed in dealing with the national bourgeoisie. While it is opposed to the working class, it is also opposed to imperialism...

"Throughout the historical period of the struggle against imperialism and feudalism, we must win over and unite with the national bourgeoisie so that it will side with the people against imperialism. Even after the task of opposing imperialism and feudalism is in the main accomplished, we must still keep our alliance with the national bourgeoisie for a certain period. This will be advantageous in dealing with imperialist aggression, in expanding production and stabilising the market and also in winning over and remoulding bourgeois intellectuals.

"..Towards the national bourgeoisie a policy of ‘both unity and struggle’ should be adopted. Unite with them in the common fight against imperialism and support all their anti-imperialist words and deeds, while waging an appropriate struggle against their reactionary, anti-working class and anti-Communist words and deeds. It is wrong to be one-sided; struggle without unity is a ‘Left’ deviationist mistake and unity without struggle is a Right deviationist mistake....

"In countries under the oppression of imperialism and feudalism the political party of the proletariat should raise the national banner and must have a programme of national unity by which to unite with all the forces that can be united, excluding the running dogs of imperialism. Let the whole nation see how patriotic the Communist Party is, how peace-loving and how desirous of national unity. This will help isolate imperialism and its running dogs, and the big landlord class and the big bourgeoisie too." 135

This thus is the Marxist basis and understanding of the united front in colonies and semi-colonies, as developed by Mao.


Forms of struggle, which are an important component of the tactics of the class struggle of the proletariat, varying in accordance with the varying conditions in individual countries, ebb and flow of the movement, the strength of the subjective forces, and so on. Forms of struggle may be peaceful or violent, bloody or bloodless, legal or illegal, parliamentary or extra parliamentary, so on and so forth. That depend on the concrete historical conditions.

As described by Lenin, the Marxist approach to the question of forms of struggle should be as follows :

"What are the fundamental demands which every Marxist should make of an examination of the question of the forms of struggle? In the first place, Marxism differs from all primitive forms of socialism by the fact that it does not bind the movement to any one particular form of struggle. It admits the most varied forms of struggle; and it does not ‘invent’ them, but only generalises, organises, gives conscious expression to those forms of struggle of the revolutionary classes which arise of themselves in the course of the movement. Absolutely hostile to all abstract formulas and to all doctrinaire recipes, Marxism demands an attentive attitude to the mass struggle in progress, which, as the movement develops, as the class consciousness of the masses grows, as economic and political crises become acute, continually gives rise to new and more varied methods of defence and offence. Marxism, therefore, positively does not renounce any form of struggle. Under no circumstances does Marxism confine itself to the forms of struggle that are possible and that exist at the given moment only, recognising as it does that new forms of struggle, unknown to the participants of the given period, inevitably arise as the given social situation changes. In this respect Marxism learns, if we may so express it from mass practice, and makes no claim whatever to teach the masses forms of struggle invented by ‘systematisers’ in the seclusion of their studies. ......

"In the second place, Marxism demands an absolutely historical examination of the question of the forms of struggle. To treat the question apart from the concrete historical situation means failing to understand the ABC of dialectical materialism. At different stages of economic evolution, depending on differences in political, national-cultural, living and other conditions, different forms of struggle come to the fore and become the principal forms of struggle; and in connection with this, the secondary, auxiliary forms of struggle undergo change in their turn. To attempt to answer yes or no to the question whether any particular means of struggle should be used, without making a detailed examination of the concrete situation of the given stage of its development, means completely to abandon the Marxist position.

"These are the two principal theoretical precepts by which we must be guided." 136

Marx and Engels gave utmost importance to the violent overthrough of the social conditions. As explained in the concluding paragraph of the Communist Manifesto, "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win." 137

Thus the founders of Marxism were clear that the transition from capitalism to socialism could not be a peaceful transition, i.e., transition to socialism by the parliamentary road, the road proposed by revisionists like Bernstein, Kautsky and Khrushchev. It is while replying to the revisionists that Lenin spoke of, "civil war, without which not a single one of the great revolutions of history has taken place, and without which not a single serious Marxist has conceived the transition from capitalism to socialism." 138 The great revolutions that Lenin here spoke of included the bourgeois-democratic revolutions where one exploiting class overthrew another. Therefore it was all the more clear that this principle would be all the more applicable to a revolution aiming to abolish exploitation altogether.

Stalin presented the question of the proletarian revolution in the following manner:

"To think that such a revolution can be carried out peacefully, within the framework of bourgeois democracy, which is adapted to the rule of the bourgeoisie, means that one has either gone out of one’s mind and lost normal human understanding, or has grossly and openly repudiated the proletarian revolution." 139

Mao too emphasised that power flows through the barrel of the gun. He said,

"Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the labouring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed. We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun." 140

Forms of Armed Revolution

"The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution holds good universally, for China and for all other countries.

"But while the principle remains the same, its application by the party of the proletariat finds expression in varying ways according to the varying conditions. Internally, capitalist countries practise bourgeois democracy (not feudalism) when they are not fascist or not at war; in their external relations, they are not oppressed by, but themselves oppress, other nations. Because of these characteristics, it is the task of the party of the proletariat in the capitalist countries to educate the workers and build up strength through a long period of legal struggle, and thus prepare for the final overthrow of capitalism. In these countries, the question is one of a long legal struggle, of utilising parliament as a platform, of economic and political strikes, of organising trade unions and educating the workers. There the form of organisation is legal and the form of struggle bloodless (non-military)... The one war they want to fight is the civil war for which they are preparing. But this insurrection and war would not be launched until the bourgeoisie becomes really helpless, until the majority of the proletariat are determined to rise in arms and fight, and until the rural masses are giving willing help to the proletariat. And when the time comes to launch such an insurrection and war, the first step will be to seize the cities, and then advance into the countryside, and not the other way about. All this has been done by Communist Parties in capitalist countries, and it has been proved correct by the October Revolution in Russia.

"China is different however. The characteristics of China are that she is not independent and democratic but semi-colonial and semi-feudal, that internally she has no democracy but is under feudal oppression and that in her external relations she has no national independence but is oppressed by imperialism. It follows that we have no parliament to make use of and no legal right to organise the workers to strike. Basically, the task of the Communist Party here is not to go through a long period of legal struggle before launching insurrection and war, and not to seize the big cities first and then occupy the countryside, but the reverse. ..

"In China war is the main form of struggle and the army is the main form of organisation. Other forms such as mass organisation and mass struggle are also extremely important and indeed indispensable and in no circumstances to be overlooked, but their purpose is to serve the war. Before the outbreak of a war all organisation and struggle are in preparation for the war, as in the period from the May 4th Movement of 1919 to the May 30th Movement of 1925. After war breaks out, all organisation and struggle are co-ordinated with the war either directly or indirectly, ......" 144

The above observation of Mao is a summation of the experiences gained by the proletariat for over a century of class struggles. That the revolution in the capitalist country where bourgeois democratic revolution is completed will take the form of armed insurrection has been bornout by historical experiences.

The principles governing the armed insurrection were written in great detail by Marx while analysing the various bourgeois revolutions in which the proletariat played a crucial role in the 19th century. Lenin summarised Marx’s principles in the following manner:

"But armed insurrection is a special form of political struggle, one subject to special laws which must be attentively pondered over. Karl Marx expressed this truth in a remarkably clear-cut way when he wrote that armed ‘insurrection is an art quite as much as war.’

"Of the principal rules of this art, Marx noted the following:

1) Never play with insurrection, but, when beginning it, firmly realise that you must go to the end.

2) Concentrate a great superiority of forces at the decisive point, at the decisive moment, otherwise the enemy, who has the advantage of better preparation and organisation, will destroy the insurgents.

3) Once the insurrection has begun, you must act with the greatest determination, and by all means, without fail, take the offensive. ‘The defensive is the death of every armed rising.’

4) You must try to take the enemy by surprise and seize the moment when his forces are scattered.

5) You must strive for daily (one might say hourly, if it is the case of one town) successes, however small, and at all costs retain the ‘moral ascendancy.’

"Marx summed up the lessons of all revolutions in respect to armed insurrection in the words of ‘Danton, the greatest master of revolutionary tactics yet known: de l’audace, de l’audace, encore de l’audace!’ (Boldness, boldness and again boldness)." 145

Lenin also, on the eve of the October revolution, while preparing for the insurrection, gave the Marxist understanding of the conditions for the success of an insurrection. He said:

"To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class. That is the first point. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. That is the second point. Insurrection must rely upon such a turning point in the history of the growing revolution at which the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height, and at which the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revolution are strongest. That is the third point.....

". once these conditions are present, to refuse to treat insurrection as an art is to betray Marxism and to betray the revolution."146

Mao's Theory of Protracted People’s War

Mao applied the principles of dialectical materialism, and particularly of contradictions, to the study of war and particularly to China’s revolutionary war. He thus summed up the characteristics of the revolutionary war and also determined the questions of principle governing the strategy and tactics of the war. These principles are of great relevance to the revolutions in all colonial and semi-colonial countries.

Mao sums up as follows:

".. The four principal characteristics of China’s revolutionary war are: a vast semi-colonial country which is unevenly developed politically and economically and which has gone through a great revolution; a big and powerful enemy; a small and weak Red Army ; and the agrarian revolution. These characteristics determine the line for guiding China’s revolutionary war as well as many of its strategic and tactical principles. It follows from the first and fourth characteristics that it is possible for the Chinese Red Army to grow and defeat its enemy. It follows from the second and third characteristics that it is impossible for the Chinese Red Army to grow very rapidly or defeat its enemy quickly; in other words, the war will be protracted and may even be lost if it is mishandled.

"These are the two aspects of China’s revolutionary war. They exist simultaneously, that is, there are favourable factors and there are difficulties. This is the fundamental law of China’s revolutionary war, from which many other laws ensue. ....."

In 1945 CPC Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party, summarises Mao’s military line as follows:

"Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s military line proceeds from two fundamental points. First, our army is and can be an army of only one kind; it must be an instrument subordinate to the ideological leadership of the proletariat and serving the struggle of the people and the building of revolutionary base ares. Second, our war is and can be a war of only one kind; it must be a war in which we recognise that the enemy is strong and we are weak, that the enemy is big and we are small, and in which therefore we fully utilise the enemy’s weaknesses and our strong points and fully rely on the strength of the masses for survival, victory and expansion. From the first point, it follows that the Red Army must fight whole-heartedly for the line, programme and policies of the Party, that is, for all the manifold interests of the whole people, and must combat the tendencies towards warlordism which run counter to this. Therefore, the Red Army must oppose the purely military point of view and the roving-rebel ideology, according to which the military does not obey the political, or even commands the politics. The Red Army must simultaneously shoulder the threefold task of fighting, doing mass work and raising funds (which at present means production); doing mass work means becoming a propagandist and organiser for the Party and for the people’s political power and means helping the local people in land distribution (at present, the reduction of rent and interest) and in establishing armed forces, organs of political power, and Party organisations, hence, in its relations with the government and the people, it is required that the Red Army scrupulously respect the organs of the people’s political power and the mass organisations, strengthen their prestige and strictly observe the Three Main Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points for Attention. Within the army it is necessary to establish a correct relationship between officers and men and to have both an appropriate democratic life and an authoritative military discipline based on political consciousness. In the work among the enemy troops, it is necessary to have a correct policy for disintegrating enemy forces and winning over prisoners. From the second point of departure, it follows that the Red Army had to recognise that, during the period of the Agrarian Revolutionary War, guerilla warfare and mobile warfare of a guerilla character were the main forms of warfare, and must recognise that only a people’s war, in which the main forces are integrated with regional forces, the regular army with guerrilla units and people’s militia, and the armed masses with the unarmed masses, can bring victory over an enemy many times stronger than ourselves. Hence, in strategy, the Red Army must oppose a war of quick decision, and in tactics, must oppose protracted fighting; in strategy, it must adhere firmly to protracted warfare and in tactics, to quick decisions; in campaigns and battles it must oppose the use of the few to defeat the many and must adhere firmly to the use of the many to defeat the few. The Red Army must therefore carry out the following strategic and tactical principles:

"Divide our forces to arouse the masses, concentrate our forces to deal with the enemy.

"The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.

To extend stable base areas, employ the policy of advancing in waves; when pursued by a powerful enemy, employ the policy of circling around.

"Lure the enemy in deep.

"Concentrate superior forces, pick out of the enemy’s weak spots, and fight when you are sure of wiping out part, or the greater part, of the enemy in mobile warfare, so as to crush the enemy forces one by one." 148

These principles, representing Mao’s valuable contribution to the science of Marxism and war have become the basis and guide for revolutionary war in the colonies and semi-colonies.


Just and Unjust Wars

".With reference to wars, the main thesis of dialectics, ...... is that ‘war is simply the continuation of politics by other (i.e., violent) means’. Such is the formula of Clausewitz, one of the greatest writers on the history of war, whose thinking was stimulated by Hegel. And it was always the standpoint of Marx and Engels, who regarded any war as the continuation of the politics of the powers concerned–and the various classes within these countries-in a definite period."149 - Lenin.

"From the point of view of Marxism, that is, of modern scientific socialism, the main issue in any discussion by socialists on how to assess the war and what attitude to adopt towards it is this: what is the war being waged for, and what classes staged and directed it. We Marxists do not belong to that category of people who are unqualified opponents of all war. We say: our aim is to achieve a socialist system of society, which, by eliminating the division of mankind into classes, by eliminating all exploitation of man by man and nation by nation, will inevitably eliminate the very possibility of war. But in the war to win the socialist system of society we are bound to encounter conditions under which the class struggle within each given nation may come up against a war between the different nations, a war conditioned by this very class struggle. Therefore, we cannot rule out the possibility of revolutionary wars, i.e., wars arising from the class struggle, wars waged by revolutionary classes, wars which are of direct and immediate revolutionary significance." 150

"The Great French Revolution ushered in a new epoch in the history of mankind. From that time down to the Paris Commune, i.e., between 1789 and 1871, one type of war was of a bourgeois-progressive character, waged for national liberation. In other words, the overthrow of absolutism and feudalism, the undermining of these institutions, and the overthrow of alien oppression, formed the chief content and historical significance of such wars. These were therefore progressive wars; during such wars, all honest and revolutionary democrats, as well as all socialists, always wished success to that country (i.e., that bourgeoisie) which had helped to overthrow or undermine the most baneful foundations of feudalism, absolutism and the oppression of other nations. ...

"...When, in speaking of the wars of such periods, socialists stressed the legitimacy of ‘defensive’ wars, they always had these aims in mind, namely revolution against medievalism and serfdom. By a ‘defensive’ war socialists have always understood a ‘just’ war in this particular sense... It is only in this sense that socialists have always regarded wars ‘for the defence of the fatherland’, or ‘defensive’ wars, as legitimate, progressive and just." 151

Thus if the colonies waged war against their imperialist masters it would be a just progressive war. Thus he said, in 1915, "For example, if tomorrow, Morocco were to declare war on France, or India on Britain, or Persia or China on Russia, and so on, these would be ‘just’, ‘defensive’ wars, irrespective of who would be the first to attack; any socialist would wish the oppressed, dependent and unequal states victory over the oppressor, slave-holding and predatory ‘Great’ Powers.

"But imagine a slave-holder who owns 100 slaves warring against another who owns 200 slaves, for a more ‘just’ redistribution of slaves. The use of the term of a ‘defensive’ war, or a war ‘for the defence of the fatherland’, would clearly be historically false in such a case and would in practice be sheer deception of the common people, petty-bourgeois, and the ignorant, by the astute slave-holders." 151

Thus the wars waged by imperialist powers were compared to wars between slave-holders for a so-called just re-division of slaves, and were therefore historically reactionary and totally unjust. Thus socialists are against wars waged by imperialism and against the slogan "defence of the fatherland" given by the imperialist bourgeoisie. However says Lenin, in1916, "We are not at all against ‘defence of the fatherland’ in general, not against ‘defensive wars’ in general. ..... We are against defence of the fatherland and defensive position in the imperialist war of 1914-16 [i.e., World War I] and in other imperialist wars, typical of the imperialist epoch. But in the imperialist epoch there may be also ‘just’, ‘defensive’, revolutionary wars namely (1) national, (2) civil, (3) socialist and suchlike." 152

In this manner Lenin developed Marx’s theory of just and unjust war. Marx during the era of bourgeois revolution supported the wars waged by the then revolutionary bourgeoisie against feudal reaction as progressive, revolutionary and just. The guiding principle was therefore support to those wars that would fight feudal reaction, take ahead the bourgeois revolution, and thus facilitate the path to socialism. In the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, Lenin similarly categorised as revolutionary and just, all wars waged by the proletariat — whether waged within a country as civil war or as a socialist war for defence of a socialist base; and all wars waged by oppressed nations — national liberation wars. Here too the guiding principle was the need to carry forward the World Socialist Revolution.

Tactics during Imperialist War

Following from the above understanding, during World War I, Lenin presented the Marxist tactics in the following manner:

"The war has undoubtedly created a most acute crisis and has immeasurably increased the distress of the masses. The reactionary nature of this war, and the unblushing lies told by the bourgeoisie of all countries to conceal their predatory aims with ‘national’ ideology are, on the basis of an objectively revolutionary situation, inevitably creating revolutionary moods among the masses. It is our duty to help the masses become conscious of these moods, deepen them and give them shape. This task finds correct expression only in the slogan: convert the imperialist war into a civil war; all consistently waged class struggles in wartime and all seriously conducted ‘mass-action’ tactics inevitably lead to this. It is impossible to foretell whether a powerful revolutionary movement will flare up in connection with, during or after the first or the second imperialist war of the Great Powers; in any case it is our bounden duty to work systematically and unswervingly in this direction. ..

"A revolutionary class cannot but wish for the defeat of its government in a reactionary war, and cannot fail to see that the latter’s military reverses must facilitate its overthow." 153 Thus "the socialists of all the belligerent countries should express their wish that all their ‘own’ governments would be defeated. .. it is a statement of this kind that would be in keeping with the innermost thoughts of every class-conscious worker, and be in line with our activities for the conversion of the imperialist war into a civil war." 153

"The temper of the masses in favour of peace often expresses the beginning of protest, anger and a realisation of the reactionary nature of the war. It is the duty of all Social-Democrats to utilise that temper. They will take a most ardent part in any movement and in any demonstration motivated by that sentiment, but they will not deceive the people with admitting the idea that a peace without annexations, without oppression of nations, without plunder, and without the embryo of new wars among the present governments and ruling classes, is possible in the absence of a revolutionary movement... Whoever wants a lasting and democratic peace must stand for civil war against the governments and the bourgeoisie." 153

These thus were the tactics of the revolutionary Marxists during World War I. They were however rejected by all the leaderships of the revisionist parties of the Second International. The Bolsheviks were the only ones to implement these tactics and were successful in achieving the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

During the period of World War II, Stalin and the Third International, adopted the basis of the same Marxist-Leninist principles to arrive at the tactics of the proletariat during the war. Thus at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern in 1935, as the war danger was increasing the resolution on the danger of a new world war said:

"The communists, while fighting also against the illusion that war can be eliminated while the capitalist system still exists, are exerting and will exert every effort to prevent war. Should a new imperialist world war break out, despite all efforts of the working class to prevent it, the communists will strive to lead the opponents of war, organised in the struggle for peace, to the struggle for the transformation of the imperialist war into civil war against the fascist instigators of war, against the bourgeoisie, for the overthrow of capitalism....

"At the present historical juncture, when on one-sixth part of the glove the Soviet Union defends socialism and peace for all humanity, the most vital interests of the workers and toilers of all countries demand that in pursuing the policy of the working class, in waging the struggle for peace, the struggle against imperialist war before and after the outbreak of hostilities, the defence of the Soviet Union must be considered paramount.

"If the commencement of a counter-revolutionary war forces the Soviet Union to set the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army in motion for the defence of socialism, the communists will call upon all toilers to work, with all the means at their disposal and at any price, for the victory of the Red Army over the armies of the imperialists." 154

This was the basis for the tactics of the proletariat when the war broke out in 1939. In the period up to June 1941, before the Soviet Union was attacked and forced into the war, the war was a reactionary, unjust, imperialist war and the proletariat’s tactics were to turn the war into civil war. After the attack and the involvement of the Soviet Red Army, the nature of the war changed for the proletariat and all toilers of the world. Their fatherland, the land of socialism, was under attack and its defence became paramount. Thus the war became a just, progressive and defensive war for saving and developing the forces of socialism, against the attacks of the forces of imperialism.

Mao’s Development of the Line on World War and Peace

Immediately after World War II in 1946, Mao gave the following understanding as to the possibility of a third world war: "I think the American people and the peoples of all countries menaced by U.S. aggression should unite and struggle against the attacks of the U.S. reactionaries and their running dogs in these countries. Only by victory in this struggle can a third world war be avoided; otherwise it is unavoidable." 155 The essence of this understanding that only people’s struggles against imperialism and revolution can prevent the third world war continues to be the basis of the Marxist understanding.

Thus when Khrushchev came out with his revisionist understanding of peace, the CPC under the guidance of Mao, gave the following understanding on the question:

"Since World War II, people everywhere have been vigorously demanding world peace. More and more people have come to understand that to defend world peace it is imperative to wage struggles against the imperialist policies of aggression and war.

"Marxist-Leninists throughout the world are duty bound to treasure the peace sentiments of the people and to stand in the forefront of the struggle for world peace. They are duty bound to struggle against the imperialists’ policies of aggression and war, to expose their deceptions and defeat their plans for war. They are duty bound to educate the people, raise their political consciousness and guide the struggle for world peace in the proper direction." 156

"... our difference with the leaders of the CPSU on the question of war and peace is one between two different lines– whether or not to oppose imperialism, whether or not to support revolutionary struggles, whether or not to mobilise the people of the world against the imperialist war plans and whether or not to adhere to Marxism-Leninism.

"Like all other genuine revolutionary parties, the Communist Party of China has always been in the forefront of the struggle against imperialism and for world peace. We hold that to defend world peace it is necessary constantly to expose imperialism and to arouse and organise the people in struggle against the imperialists headed by the United States, and it is necessary to place reliance on the growth of the strength of the socialist camp, on the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and working people of all countries, on the liberation struggles of the oppressed nations, on the struggles of all peace-loving peoples and countries and on the broad united front against U.S. imperialism and its lackeys.

"..With this line, it is possible ceaselessly to raise the political consciousness of the people and to expand the struggle for world peace in the right direction.

"With this line, it is possible constantly to strengthen the forces for world peace with the socialist camp as their core and strike at and weaken the imperialist forces for war.

"With this line, it is possible to turn to account all available factors, including the contradictions between U.S. imperialism and the other imperialist powers, and to isolate U.S. imperialism to the fullest extent.

"With this line, it is possible to smash the nuclear blackmail practised by U.S. imperialism and defeat its plan for launching a new world war.

"This is the line for the people of all countries to win both victory in revolution and world peace. It is the sure and effective road in defence of world peace." 157

Refuting Khrushchev’s propaganda that support to national liberation and revolutionary civil wars would provoke a nuclear world war, the CPC and Mao, presented the correct approach of the socialist base to revolutionary struggles as well as to the nuclear question.

"The Communist Party of China has always held that the socialist countries should actively support the peoples’ revolutionary struggles, including wars of national liberation and revolutionary civil wars. To fail to do so would be to renounce their proletarian internationalist duty. At the same time, we hold that the oppressed peoples and nations can achieve liberation only by their own resolute revolutionary struggle and that no one else can do it for them.

"We have always maintained that socialist countries must not use nuclear weapons to support the peoples’ national liberation and revolutionary civil wars and have no need to do so.

"We have always maintained that the countries must achieve and maintain nuclear superiority. Only this can prevent the imperialists from launching a nuclear war and help bring about the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.

"We consistently hold that in the hands of a socialist country, nuclear weapons must always be defensive weapons for resisting imperialist nuclear threats. A socialist country absolutely must not be the first to use nuclear weapons, not should it in any circumstances play with them or engage in nuclear blackmail and nuclear gambling." 158

Thus Mao, basing himself on the principles formulated by Marx and Lenin, developed the principles for the proletariat to understand and act in the conditions following World War II.



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