Image Description: A Poster from the Revolutionary Anti-Fascist Patriotic Front, the armed forces of the Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist). The poster reads: “Yankees Out of Spain! Down with the Monarcho-Fascist Dictatorship! Long Live the Republic!”
NOTES ON BUREAUCRATIC-COMPRADOR CAPITALISM
By Edith B.
In this series of articles, I will put forward some notes on an initial investigation of the phenomenon of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism1 in the 3rd world, in countries where it has arisen not on a semi-colonial/colonial, semi-feudal basis, but on a purely capitalist or semi-slave basis. I hope to be able to make a contribution to the study of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism and its understanding in the international communist movement by doing so.
This first article will specifically deal with the phenomenon of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism on a deeply evolved semi-feudal basis, as it exists in several countries of Southern Europe today. This will show that not only does semi-feudalism persist and evolve if it is not swept away — but also that the new-democratic revolution is still on the agenda in those countries.
1. FEUDALISM AND THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION
Feudalism is a mode of production characterized by the exploitation and oppression of tenant peasants by feudal landlords through feudal rent — upheld and perpetuated by a State taking the form of the dictatorship of the feudal aristocracy. Lenin describes:
„In the great majority of countries slavery in the course of its development evolved into serfdom. The fundamental division of society was now into feudal lords and peasant serfs. The form of relations between people changed. The slave-owners had regarded the slaves as their property; the law had confirmed this view and regarded the slave as a chattel completely owned by the slave-owner. As far as the peasant serf was concerned, class oppression and dependence remained, but it was not considered that the feudal lord owned the peasants as chattels, but that they were only entitled to their labour, to the obligatory performance of certain services. In practice, as you know, serfdom, especially in Russia where it survived longest of all and assumed the crudest forms, in no way differed from slavery.“2
Feudal exploitation takes the form of feudal rent — the rent paid by the tenant to their landlord, which differs from modern-day capitalist rent. Feudal rent takes three forms: labor rent (rent paid through unpaid labor on the landlord‘s land), rent in kind (rent paid in the form of produce to the landlord) and money rent (rent paid in the form of money to the landlord). Money rent, in turn, constitutes the link between feudal and capitalist rent.
The essence of feudal exploitation is serfdom — the state of the peasant belonging personally to the landlord. This can take the shape either of formally belonging to the landlord (which corresponds roughly to labor rent), of formally belonging to the land (which corresponds roughly to rent in kind) or of formally being free but belonging to the landlord due to debt (which corresponds roughly to money rent).
The feudal economic base gives rise to a political and cultural superstructure of the feudal type — a landlord dictatorship and a feudal culture, usually taking a well-organized religion or philosophy as its ideological doctrine.3 The feudal State relies on brute force to oppress the peasantry and uphold the feudal mode of production. The feudal State may take many government forms, but in general, they boil down to two distinct types of government.
Just as a capitalist State may take the form of either bourgeois democracy or bourgeois fascism as it pleases, a feudal State may take the form of either feudal aristocracy or feudal absolutism. An aristocratic government would typically be ruled by a council of nobles or something similar, while an absolutist government would be ruled personally by the monarch. Both forms are still feudal in content and are based on a feudal economic base. In areas with many free (non-tenant) peasants, other, primitive-democratic forms of government could also temporarily exist — as in Urschweiz before the Sonderbund War of 1847 or in parts of Scandinavia during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Lenin pointed out:
„Freedom in [class] society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners.“4
With the development of merchant capitalism and later industrial and financial capitalism in the cities, the feudal system in the countryside gradually took on a more and more capitalist form, although the feudal essence remained. Feudalism evolved and became semi-feudalism, typically basing itself on money rent rather than other forms, or preserving labor rent and rent in kind in a disguised form. Typically, serfdom became based on debt rather than on being bound to the soil or the landlord. Semi-feudalism is nonetheless still feudalism, and can only be swept away by means of the democratic revolution.
The task of the communists is to carry out all of the appropriate forms of revolution in order to reach classless society — democratic, socialist and proletarian cultural revolutions — in every country of the world. But since the appearance of imperialism, the bourgeoisie is no longer capable of leading the democratic revolution in the semi-feudal countries. Therefore, the modern working class — the proletariat — has to take the lead. That is why Mao Tse-tung, in his work „On New Democracy“, proposed the new-democratic revolution as opposed to the old, bourgeois-democratic revolution. He wrote:
„[…] the Chinese bourgeois-democratic revolution has changed, it has come within the new category of bourgeois-democratic revolutions and, as far as the alignment of revolutionary forces is concerned, forms part of the proletarian-socialist world revolution.
Why? Because the first imperialist world war and the first victorious socialist revolution, the October Revolution, have changed the whole course of world history and ushered in a new era.
It is an era in which the world capitalist front has collapsed in one part of the globe (1/6 of the world) and has fully revealed its decadence everywhere else, in which the remaining capitalist parts cannot survive without relying more than ever on the colonies and semi-colonies, in which a socialist State has been established and has proclaimed its readiness to give active support to the liberation movement of all colonies and semi-colonies, and in which the proletariat of the capitalist countries is steadily freeing itself from the social-imperialist influence of the Social-Democratic Parties and has proclaimed its support for the liberation movement in the colonies and semi-colonies. In this era, any revolution in a colony or semi-colony that is directed against imperialism, that is, 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.
Although such a revolution in a colonial and semi-colonial country is still fundamentally bourgeois-democratic in its social character during its first stage or first step, and although its objective mission is to clear the path for the development of capitalism, it is no longer a revolution of the old type led by the bourgeoisie with the aim of establishing a capitalist society and a State under bourgeois dictatorship. It belongs to the new type of revolution led by the proletariat with the aim, in the first stage, of establishing a new-democratic society and a State under the joint dictatorship of all the revolutionary classes. Thus this revolution actually serves the purpose of clearing a still wider path for the development of socialism. In the course of its progress, there may be a number of further sub-stages, because of changes on the enemy‘s side and within the ranks of our allies, but the fundamental character of the revolution remains unchanged.
Such a revolution attacks imperialism at its very roots, and is therefore not tolerated but opposed by imperialism. However, it is favoured by socialism and supported by the land of socialism and the socialist international proletariat.
Therefore, such a revolution inevitably becomes part of the proletarian-socialist world revolution.“5
With this understanding of feudalism and the democratic revolution in mind, we will proceed to discussing bureaucratic-comprador capitalism.
2. WHAT IS BUREAUCRATIC-COMPRADOR CAPITALISM?
As was explained in the first footnote of this article, bureaucratic-comprador capitalism is a capitalism born to two sick parents: imperialism and a backward native economic base (typically semi-feudalism). Bureaucratic-comprador capitalism arose in the world through imperialist investment into backward economic systems, leading to the development of productive forces tied completely to both imperialism and native reactionary relations of production — for example, the investment by a U.S. imperialist bank into the landlord economy in Peru, producing companies of a comprador (foreign-dependent) and feudal (landlordist) type. The feudal landlord retains their landed titles and at the same time becomes the manager of the local branch of an imperialist enterprise.
This form of capitalism represents the sickest, most degenerated relations of production in world history — the combination of the cynical, „scientific“ and calculated global exploitation by a handful of imperialist superpowers and powers, on the one hand, with the most brutal and reactionary forces of indigenous slavery, feudalism and backward capitalism, on the other hand.
The dual role of the bureaucratic or comprador capitalist in the third world is nothing new. Marx already observed how a similar (although different, as it was the product of colonialism rather than imperialism) phenomenon took place in the Americas — the plantation-owners were at the same time slave-owners and capitalists, he pointed out, due to the use of slavery for production for a capitalist world market.
Bureaucratic-comprador capitalism consists of two distinct, but interrelated, sets of relations of production, which both share the same preconditions and each produce one of the two factions of the big bourgeoisie in the third world countries.
Comprador capitalism generally appears first, as the result of imperialist investment into the non-State economy of a backward country, giving rise to a comprador bourgeoisie. In 1926, Mao Tse-tung already observed how this process had taken place in China. He wrote:
„In economically backward and semi-colonial China the landlord class and the comprador class are wholly appendages of the international bourgeoisie, depending upon imperialism for their survival and growth. These classes represent the most backward and most reactionary relations of production in China and hinder the development of her productive forces. Their existence is utterly incompatible with the aims of the Chinese revolution. The big landlord and big comprador classes in particular always side with imperialism and constitute an extreme counterrevolutionary group.“6
The footnote to this paragraph reads:
„A comprador, in the original sense of the word, was the Chinese manager or the senior Chinese employee in a foreign commercial establishment. The compradors served foreign economic interests and had close connection with imperialism and foreign capital.“7
However, at a certain point of development, as Gonzalo explained, this comprador capital merges with the power of the landlord State, becomes bureaucratic capital (which is State-monopolistic capital) and a bureaucratic bourgeoisie emerges as the other faction of the big bourgeoisie. The class character of the old State thus changes to be a joint dictatorship of the landlord class and the big bourgeoisie, under imperialist colonial or semi-colonial domination. In China, this process took place during the 1930s and ‘40s, leading Mao to the following conclusion:
„During their 20-year rule, the four big families, Chiang, Soong, Kung and Chen, have piled up enormous fortunes valued at 10-20,000,000 USD and monopolized the economic lifelines of the whole country. This monopoly capital, combined with State power, has become State-monopoly capitalism. This monopoly capitalism, closely tied up with foreign imperialism, the domestic landlord class and the old-type rich peasants, has become comprador, feudal, State-monopoly capitalism. Such is the economic base of Chiang Kai-shek‘s reactionary regime. This State-monopoly capitalism oppresses not only the workers and peasants but also the urban small bourgeoisie, and it injures the middle bourgeoisie. This State-monopoly capitalism reached the peak of its development during the War of Resistance and after the Japanese surrender; it has prepared ample material conditions for the new-democratic revolution. This capital is popularly known in China as bureaucratic capital. This capitalist class, known as the bureaucratic-capitalist class, is the big bourgeoisie of China. Besides doing away with the special privileges of imperialism in China, the task of the new-democratic revolution at home is to abolish exploitation and oppression by the landlord class and by the bureaucratic-capitalist class (the big bourgeoisie), change the comprador, feudal relations of production and unfetter the productive forces.“8
Thus we understand how bureaucratic-comprador capitalism comes to be. In most third world countries of the world, if not all, this process has been completed many decades ago, and both factions of the big bourgeoisie are already in place under the auspices of the imperialist superpowers and powers.
On the basis of this understanding, Chairman Gonzalo defined the aspects of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism as follows:
„Taking up Chairman Mao‘s thesis, he teaches us that it has five characteristics:
- Bureaucratic capitalism is the capitalism that imperialism develops in the backward countries, which is comprised of the capital of large landowners, the big bankers, and the magnates of the big bourgeoisie.
- It exploits the proletariat, the peasantry and the small bourgeoisie and constrains the middle bourgeoisie.
- It is passing through a process in which bureaucratic capitalism is combined with the power of the State and becomes State-monopoly capitalism, comprador and feudal, from which can be derived that in a first moment it unfolds as a non-State big monopoly capitalism and in a second moment, when it is combined with the power of the State, it unfolds as State-monopoly capitalism.
- It ripens the conditions for the democratic revolution as it reaches the apex of its development.
- Confiscating bureaucratic capital is key to reaching the pinnacle of the democratic revolution and it is decisive to pass over to the socialist revolution.“9
This leads him to the following definition of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism:
„In applying the above, he conceives that bureaucratic capitalism is the capitalism that imperialism generates in the backward countries, which is tied to a decrepit feudalism and subjugated to imperialism which is the last phase of capitalism.“10
It is key to understand that this thesis has universal validity:
„Furthermore, Chairman Gonzalo generalizes that bureaucratic capitalism is not a process peculiar to China or to Peru, but that it follows the belated conditions in which the various imperialists subjugate the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, at a time when these oppressed nations have not yet destroyed the vestiges of feudalism, much less developed capitalism.“11
And that it directly determines the strategy and tactics of the revolution in the third world countries:
„It is also very important to see how bureaucratic capitalism is shaped by non-State-monopoly capitalism and by State-monopoly capitalism, that is the reason why he differentiates between the two factions of the big bourgeoisie, the bureaucratic and the comprador, in order to avoid tailing behind one or the other, a problem that led our Party to 30 years of wrong tactics. It is important to understand it this way, since the confiscation of bureaucratic capitalism by the new power leads to the completion of the democratic revolution and the advance into the socialist revolution. If only the State monopoly capitalism is targeted, the other part would remain free, the non-State-monopoly capital, and the big comprador bourgeoisie would remain economically able to lift its head to snatch away the leadership of the revolution and to prevent its passage to the socialist revolution.“12
In Peru, bureaucratic-comprador capitalism went through an deepening process tied to the evolution of semi-feudalism and the ripening of the new-democratic revolution. Gonzalo explained this process:
„We have an understanding of the workings of contemporary Peruvian society, by which we mean the society which came into being in 1895. We believe that the process we are living through began then and that there have been three stages. The first stage laid the basis for the development of bureaucratic capitalism; the second stage, which deepened the development of bureaucratic capitalism, began after the 2nd World War, because the first stage lasted until then. This deeper development of bureaucratic capitalism ripened the conditions for revolution. With the beginning of the people‘s war in 1980, we entered the third stage, of the general crisis of bureaucratic capitalism. The destruction of contemporary Peruvian society has begun because it has become historically outmoded. Therefore what we are witnessing is its end and the only correct course is to battle, to fight, and to struggle to bury it.“13
It should be understood that in Peru, the third moment of the destruction of Peruvian society failed to culminate, thus leading to a fourth moment of contemporary Peruvian history, in which bureaucratic-comprador capitalism continues to deepen and rot in response to the effects of the people‘s war. A fifth moment, however, will inevitably begin when the Communist Party of Peru is refounded and the people‘s war is reinitiated.
From the above, we can understand the importance of the thesis of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism for the revolution in the third world countries and the proletarian world revolution in general.
We will now look at how bureaucratic-comprador capitalism came to express itself in several European countries which are normally not viewed as third world countries (due to the extremely deepened bureaucratic-comprador capitalism in these countries), and how the new-democratic revolution is ripening in these countries.
3. EXAMPLE NO. 1: PORTUGAL
Portugal is the first European third world country which we will discuss in this article as an example of highly deepened bureaucratic-comprador capitalism.
Long ago, Lenin pointed out the situation in which Portugal finds itself — as a historic colony of British imperialism and later as a semi-colony of different imperialists. Lenin said:
„A somewhat different form of financial and diplomatic dependence, accompanied by political independence, is presented by Portugal. Portugal is an independent sovereign State, but actually, for more than 200 years, since the war of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), it has been a British protectorate. Great Britain has protected Portugal and its colonies in order to fortify its own positions in the fight against its rivals, Spain and France. In return Great Britain has received commercial privileges, preferential conditions for importing goods and especially capital into Portugal and the Portuguese colonies, the right to use the ports and islands of Portugal, its telegraph cables, and so on, and so forth. Relations of this kind have always existed between big and little States, but in the epoch of capitalist imperialism they become a general system, they form part of the sum total of ‚divide the world‘ relations and become links in the chain of operations of world finance capital.“14
Lenin clearly considered Portugal to be part of what we today term the third world. This view was echoed by Comrade Amilcar Cabral, the great African communist, who carefully studied marxism-leninism and personally led the fight of the Portuguese colonies for national liberation. Cabral wrote:
„Faced with the power of the main imperialist nations, one is forced to wonder how it was possible for Portugal, an underdeveloped and backward country, to retain its colonies in spite of the redistribution to which the world was subjected. Portuguese colonialism managed to survive despite the sharing-out of Africa made by the imperialist powers at the end of the 19th century because England supported the ambitions of Portugal which, since the treaty of Metwen in 1703 had become a semi-colony of England. England had every interest in using the Portuguese colonies, not only to exploit their economic resources, but also to occupy them as support bases on the route to the Orient, and thus to maintain absolute domination in the Indian Ocean. To counter the greed of the other colonialist powers and to defend its interests in the Portuguese colonies, England found the best solution: it defended the ‚rights‘ of its semi-colony. That is why, for example, Portugal granted to a private enterprise controlled by English interests sovereign rights over an area covering 17% of the total territory of Mozambique.
In fact Portugal has been no more than the sometimes envious guardian of the human and material resources of our countries, at the service of world imperialism. That is the real reason for the survival of Portuguese colonialism in Africa, and for the possible prolonging of our struggle. Thus to a greater extent than the presence of other powers in Africa, the presence of Portugal has been, and still is dependent on the presence of other colonising powers, mainly England.“15
Portugal today, after the loss of its main colonies (retaining only Madeira and the Azore Islands), remains even more dominated by the imperialist superpowers and powers. The semi-feudal system in the Portuguese countryside was also not liquidated by the famous „Carnation Revolution“, which dealt purely with problems of the type of government (the transition from Salazar‘s bourgeois fascism to bourgeois democracy).
During the Carnation Revolution, the masses of Portuguese peasants began a great movement to carry out land reform. However, this process, much like the land reform process during Reconstruction in the U.S., was betrayed by the new bourgeois-democratic government. According to Wikipedia:
„According to government estimates, about 900,000 hectares (2,200,000 acres) of agricultural land were seized between April 1974 and December 1975 as part of land reform; about 32% of the appropriations were ruled illegal. In January 1976, The government pledged to restore the illegally-occupied land to its owners in 1976, and enacted the Land Reform Review Law the following year. Restoration of illegally-occupied land began in 1978.“16
The land reform from below during the Carnation Revolution thus represents an incomplete democratic revolution.
In the Portuguese countryside today, private landownership dominate in the forested areas, which constitute 40% of the country‘s total area. 97% of forested area is privatized. 84.2% of this amount belongs to small peasants. This area is used for production and not recreation. Furthermore, it is dominated by minifundium, or small landownership — fields stemming from the christian conquest of muslim Iberia in the 13th century, divided up among countless generations of peasant heirs, leading to this situation:
„In the North, the largest bloc of owners is private citizens due to ‚the rugged terrain, demographic pressure, the property inheritance system (which divides the property between many heirs) and the existence of common lands have meant that more than half of the properties have less than five hectares‘, according to Floresta.pt (September 11, 2019).“17
Small landownership naturally has the effect of perpetuating feudal relations of production, although in a different way than big landownership (latifundium), which is the dominant form of landownership in other countries (such as Spain). Small peasants, even if nominally independent, quickly become economically indebted to rich peasants, landlords and banks. Serfdom is revived and feudalism evolved. Small landownership often leads to even greater impoverishment than big landownership, with more disguised relations of exploitation. Lenin pointed out:
„Let us call to mind the basic features of the Peasant Reform of 1861. The notorious ‚emancipation‘ meant the unscrupulous robbery of the peasants and their subjection to an endless succession of tyrannies and insults. ‚Emancipation‘ was seized upon as a pretext to cut off part of the peasants‘ land. In the black-earth gubernias these cut-off lands amounted to more than 1/5 of the total held by peasants; in some gubernias the land that was cut off, taken away from the peasants, amounted to 1/3 or even 2/5 of all the peasants‘ land. As a result of ‚emancipation‘ the peasants‘ land was so divided from the landed estates as to compel the peasants to settle on ‚bad land‘, and the landed estates were wedged into the peasants‘ land to make it easier for the noble lords to enslave the peasants and to lease land to them on usurious terms. As a result of ‚emancipation‘, the peasants were forced to ‚redeem‘ their own land, moreover, they were forced to pay double or triple its real price. The overall result of the whole ‚epoch of reforms‘ which marked the 1860s was that the peasants remained poverty-stricken, downtrodden, ignorant, and subject to the feudal landowners in the courts, in the organs of administration, in the schools, and in the Zemstvos.
The ‚Great Reform‘ was a feudal reform; nor could it be anything else, for it was carried out by the feudal landowners. But what was the force that compelled them to resort to reform? It was the force of economic development which was drawing Russia on to the path of capitalism. The feudal landowners could not prevent the growth of trade between Russia and Europe; they could not bolster up the old, tottering forms of economic life. The Crimean War demonstrated the rottenness and impotence of feudal Russia. The peasant ‚riots‘, which had been growing in number and intensity in the decades prior to emancipation, compelled Alexander the 2nd, the country‘s biggest landowner, to admit that it would be better to emancipate from above than to wait until he was overthrown from below.“18
As Lenin pointed out, feudal land reform leading to small landownership becoming separated from big landownership has the effect of making the peasantry more dependent on capital — in this sense, and only in this sense, is it a „bourgeois reform“. Small landownership in Portugal is semi-feudal, with this singular capitalist aspect of interconnectedness with the bureaucratic-comprador-capitalist economy. This ripens the development of the new-democratic revolution in Portugal, precisely because it pits the workers and peasants against the very same enemy — capital.
In Portugal, we find an extreme economic stagnation as a result of the semi-feudal economic base. Bureaucratic-comprador capitalism in Portugal deepens exploitation continuously, but is not able to „revitalize“ itself whatsoever. For instance, read the following (which deals with the economic situation of the ruling classes and not of the people):
„In 1960, Portugal‘s per-capita GDP was 38% of the European Economic Community average. By the end of the Salazar period in 1968 it had risen to 48%, and in 1973 it had reached 56.4%; the percentages were affected by the 40% of the budget which underwrote the African wars. In 1975 (the year of greatest revolutionary turmoil), Portugal‘s per-capita GDP declined to 52.3% of the EEC average. Due to revolutionary economic policies, oil shocks, recession in Europe and the return of hundreds of thousands of overseas Portuguese from its former colonies, Portugal began an economic crisis in 1974-75.
Real gross domestic product growth resumed as a result of Portugal‘s economic resurgence since 1985 and adhesion to the European Economic Community (EEC). The country‘s 1991 per-capita GDP reached 54.9% of the EEC average, slightly exceeding the level at the height of the revolutionary period.“19
An increase from below half of the average of the European imperialist States to slightly above half! What an „economic miracle“! Today, the Portuguese economy still rates incredibly low, being no. 20 on the list of European States by nominal GDP.
The evolution of semi-feudalism and the deepening of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism leads to severe effects on the livelihood of the Portuguese people. For instance, read the following facts:
„Portuguese houses can be extremely cold in the winter. Most properties don‘t have central heating, or sometimes heating of any kind […]
Electricity and petrol are two good examples of things that are really expensive in Portugal. Per kilowatt, Portugal is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. It‘s also one of the most expensive countries for fuel, which leads to a lot of people who living near the Spanish border driving across to fill up.
Other things that are expensive include anything second-hand, cars, furniture, electronic appliances, books, banking, branded international foods and household products (for example, cereals), and cosmetics and toiletries.
Ask a Portuguese person what the biggest downside to life in Portugal is and almost all will say corruption.
Backhanders can permeate every area of life, from your local council right up to the higher echelons of government. It‘s just seen as a part of life or a tax for getting around bureaucracy.
According to Transparency International‘s 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, Portugal was ranked 30th out of 198 countries for corruption.“20
According to Wikipedia, Portugal has the highest emigration rate in the E.U. More than 2,000,000 Portuguese citizens, or more than 20% of the population, reside outside of Portugal.21 Many of these Portuguese migrant workers live in Switzerland and Portuguese is the second-most spoken non-recognized language in this country, after English.
Finally, Portuguese national debt amounts to 130% of the country‘s GDP, or 214,500,000,000 EUR. This debt is mainly owed to Northern European countries such as Germany.22
These are all symptoms of an economy completely dominated by foreign imperialism, in which a bureaucratic-comprador capitalism develops on a semi-feudal base.
We will not deal here with the mode of production in the Portuguese colonies of Madeira and the Azore Islands. This may be the topic of a future article, provided it is relevant to discuss it. It will be much more significant to discuss the problem of external and internal colonies of semi-colonial countries when discussing the second example of this article — Spain. Concerning the history of Portuguese colonialism and the struggle for national liberation in the Portuguese colonies, I refer the reader to the works of Comrade Amilcar Cabral.23
4. EXAMPLE NO. 2: SPAIN
Spain is the second European third world country which we will discuss in this article as an example of highly deepened bureaucratic-comprador capitalism.
The new dogmato-revisionists of the modern-day 2nd International (at whose core is the axis of the 3rd Peruvian Right-opportunist line of the so-called „Militarized Communist Party of Peru“, the „Left“-liquidationist line of the runt of the Peru People‘s Movement and the Right-opportunist line in formation of the German „Committee Red Flag“), who use as their mouthpiece the website ci-ic.org (which unrightfully uses the name Communist International in a vain attempt to gain legitimacy) has made it a practice to deny what is the „living soul of marxism“, as Lenin said: „The concrete analysis of a concrete situation.“24 They raise the red flag to fight the red flag, as was said in China during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. By transforming Chairman Gonzalo into a dead, petty god or icon to fetishize, by turning Gonzalo thought into something which it is not — a sterile dogma, instead of a contribution to the inevitable fourth stage of marxism — they aim to trick the Left of the international communist movement into supporting the most Right-wing policies. The Red Flag has previously published many articles, polemics and documents denouncing this counter-revolutionary activity in its various aspects. They deny the need for creative application of communist theory to each concrete revolution. They deny the existence of settler-colonialism in certain countries, up to and including denying the existence of a Black nation in the USA (something recognized by all communists since Lenin himself) and calling for „revolutionary integrationism“. They deny the double oppression of queers, even their existence among the ranks of the people, and call for outright genocidal acts against them. They dress up great-nation chauvinism in the garb of „revolutionary defeatism“ in such a way that even the annexationist dreams of German imperialism may be put in a positive light, „so long as it is the proletariat which does it“. They deny proletarian feminism and turn it into its opposite — outright bourgeois-conservative oppression of women in the revolutionary ranks. They preach racism against migrants. We could go on. What is key here is that they also deny the imperialist superexploitation and superoppression of certain third world countries, denying that these countries are indeed third world at all — this is the case for Spain, the Black nation in the USA, and other oppressed countries and nations. In the place of the marxist-leninist-maoist viewpoint on the national question, revolutionary defeatism, proletarian internationalism, socialist patriotism, and so on, they put the old prejudices of the Social-Democratic Parties of the historic 2nd International, which were already fought by Lenin. We aim to demolish these ideas.
The modern-day 2nd International is an entire network or web of organizations created through a complex process. This process has its origins with the protracted collapse of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement due to the previous revisionism of Avakian, Prachanda and the Peruvian 2nd Right-opportunist line of Miriam and others.25 However, the organizational beginning of the modern-day 2nd International is with the 5th Meeting of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Parties and Organizations of Latin America, convened in 2016. This Meeting and its central resolution form the basis for the entire structure which has since been built — the modern-day 2nd International, which is attempting to consolidate itself in the form of a so-called „New International Organization of the Proletariat“ through a sectarian so-called „Unified International Maoist Conference“, which is nothing but a plot to split apart the international communist movement.26 If we look at this „transcendental“ resolution of the revisionists, we can read such phrases as the following:
„There are also other imperialist powers like Germany, Great Britain, France, Japan, China, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Spain, and so on, that compose a handful of oppressing countries.“27
The position that Spain is an imperialist power is expressed in other documents published by the new revisionists, as in an article by ci-ic.org, which states concerning Spain:
„[…] the rotten monarchy that represents this State of bourgeois dictatorship, imperialist State that represents and defends this order of exploitation and oppression against the proletariat, real prison of peoples and that oppresses nations of the third world.“28
The position that Spain is an imperialist power is an outright reversal of correct verdicts on the Spanish revolution.
Comrade José Diaz, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain during the Spanish Civil War, stated:
„The national revolutionary war in Spain kept the revolutionary and progressive forces of the whole world at a high tension for two and a half years. The Spanish people waged a magnificent armed struggle in defense of its revolutionary achievements and its national independence against a superior enemy, a struggle that was protracted, stubborn and rich in heroism.
Spain was primarily an agrarian country of a small-bourgeois type with considerable remnants of feudalism. This general character of the country was not changed during the five or six years of the bourgeois-democratic revolution (from April, 1931, to July, 1936), which preceded the national revolutionary war. 59% of the employable population was engaged in agriculture and not more than 20% in industry, transportation and commerce. The rest of the population was employed either in the State administrative apparatus or in the municipal apparatus, in the army and in the so-called free professions. The distribution of land ownership was the best indication of the peasant, small-bourgeois character of the country with strong influences of feudal remnants on the economic and political life.
2% of the land owners, who could be described as large landowners (100 hectares and upwards), possessed 67% of the entire arable land. To this group belonged the enormous big landownerships of the Duke of Alba covering 96,000 hectares, those of the Duke of Medinaceli With 79,000 hectares, as well as those of the Duke of Peneranda with 52,000 hectares, and others. 86% of the owners of land (up to ten hectares) possessed altogether only 15% of all the arable land. This picture becomes even clearer when we add that 39% of all the owners of land possessed less than one hectare and that this enormous mass of land-impoverished peasants possessed altogether only 1.1% of the entire acreage. Besides this, there were 2,500,000 land workers who had no land at all. A considerable part of the peasants who were counted as owners of land in the statistics, in reality were nothing but tenants or sub-tenants, so-called ‚rabassaires‘, a tenant relationship which most clearly reflected the semi-feudal character of Spanish agriculture.
The Catholic Church, the consort of feudalism, possessed nearly 1/3 of all the wealth of the country as well as 1/3 of all the arable land. There were 200,000 monks in Spain. As against the 35,000 schools in Spain, there was a total of 36,000 churches, monasteries and chapels.
Of the 24,500,000 inhabitants, 7,000,000 belonged to the national minorities of Catalonia, the Basque country and Galicia. The national question was only partially solved by the Republic. The complete solution of this question was still ahead.
Heavy industry and machine construction, the barometer of the economic level of every country, were only slightly developed. Light industry (working-up of agricultural products, textile industry, and so on), which employed 67% out of the total of 1,900,000 industrial workers, occupied a dominant position in the whole economic development of Spain. In light industry, handicraft production played an exceptionally big role; in the textile industry the small and middle owners likewise predominated. Light industry was only slightly concentrated. The opposite was the case, however, in heavy industry, especially in mining (coal, iron-ore, lead, copper, potash, quick-silver, and so on). Here, monopoly capital played a decisive role.
Spain was a capitalist country which oppressed colonial peoples; at the same time, however, Spain was a country exceptionally dependent on foreign capital, a country which was the theater of struggle between individual imperialist powers who fought one another for consolidation of their own influence in this country at the expense of their rivals.
Although the bourgeois-democratic revolution lasted more than six years, the basic tasks confronting the revolution remained unsolved, primarily the agrarian question […]
All these peculiarities of the internal situation of the Spanish Republic as well as of the international situation were of decisive importance for the strategic task of the working class. To the Communist Party it was clear that in such a backward country as Spain, whose democratic problems were unsolved and which was faced with the urgent necessity of extending the social basis of the struggle inside the country as well as the basis of international solidarity, the socialist revolution could not be posed as the immediate task. For that reason, the Party, basing itself on the analysis of the given situation and on the concrete estimation of the interaction of forces, set itself the task of further developing and completing the bourgeois-democratic revolution.“29
He also pointed out:
„The Communist Party was able to develop this political line and to put it into practice, making it the backbone of the struggle of the Spanish people only because it always strove to follow the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and to apply, in the concrete conditions of Spain, the tactical principles of leninism which were developed and supplemented by Stalin.“30
But as we know, the Spanish Civil War resulted in a defeat for the Communist Party, the People‘s Front Government and the revolutionary armed forces. The bourgeois-democratic revolution could not be completed and the forces of semi-feudal, bureaucratic-comprador-capitalist reaction subjugated to foreign imperialism, at first mainly German and then mainly U.S. imperialism, won out against the revolutionaries. As the title of this article states: „Pasaron.“ They passed, despite the best efforts of the comrades and colleagues who gave their lives. Franco established a fascist-monarchical dictatorship of the landlords and big bourgeoisie under the rule of imperialism. Under the rule of this dictatorship, feudalism was evolved further and bureaucratic-comprador capitalism deepened, particularly in the Spanish colonies, which became transformed into brothels and tourist resorts for labor-aristocrats from imperialist countries to relax in, and Yankee military bases shot up all across the country.
A delegation of the Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist) traveled to China in the 1960s and met with Comrade Kang Sheng. He said:
„‚On New Democracy‘ is of great significance for the world communist movement. I asked Spanish comrades, and they said the problem for them was to establish bourgeois democracy, not to establish new democracy. In their country, they did not concern themselves with the three points: army, countryside, political power. They wholly subordinated themselves to the exigencies of Soviet foreign policy, and achieved nothing at all. […] They say the Communist Party organized an army, and then turned it over to others. […] They also did not want political power, nor did they mobilize the peasantry. At that time, the Soviet Union said to them that if they imposed proletarian leadership, England and France might oppose it, and this would not be in the interests of the Soviet Union.“31
Chairman Mao expressed his agreement with Kang Sheng and with the characterization of the Spanish revolution as a new-democratic one.
The Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist), having broken with those revisionists who considered „peaceful transition“ to be a viable strategy in fascist Spain and who today participate in the bourgeois government of the country, embarked on the road of people‘s war against the old Spanish State.32 The historic legacy of the Communist Party of Spain and the Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist) is, of course, something quite different from those parties today, which are under revisionist directorship.
To view Spain as being an imperialist country — that is, a country which has gone through a bourgeois-democratic revolution — is to proclaim Fransisco Franco to be a bourgeois-democratic revolutionary. It is also to reject the strategy and tactics of the Communist International in Spain wholesale as being Right-opportunist.
Indeed, in today‘s Spain, a semi-feudal and bureaucratic-comprador-capitalist economy predominates; under the iron heel of a deeply reactionary and monarchical State which subjects itself entirely to the dictates of German imperialism, and which still protects and relies on fascists to rule the country, this outdated and rotten society persists, evolves and rots alive.
This is something quite apparent in the concentration of and stability of big landownership in the South of Spain, meaning Andalusia and Extremadura. Spain‘s South and its backwardness is one of the closely studied subjects of a scientific trend in Spanish academia centered around the study of bureaucratic capitalism, that was established by the geographer Víctor Martín.
In his the article „Big Property and Agricultural Productivity in the Southern Spanish Countryside“, Martín analyzes the prevalence of big and small landownership in Andalusia. Based on the 1999 Agricultural Census, he extrapolates that of a total of 369,768 land holdings, that cover nearly 7,800,000 hectares of land „there are only 6,098 (1.65% of the total number of holdings) with a size of more than 200 hectares[…] this small fraction of Andalusian holdings covers an area of 4,500,000 hectares, which means that they absorb more than half of the land registered in the region (58.1%). The impression of a strong concentration of agricultural production in a restricted number of hands increases if we consider […]holdings of more than 1,000 hectares. These are only 952 (852 in the 1982 Agrarian Census), and their existence is especially significant because, being so limited in number, they absorb 32% (almost 30% in the 1982 Census) of the agricultural surface area of Andalusia.
[…] the remaining 42%, is divided into 318,816 farms, 2/3 of which are clearly insufficient, that is, small landownership.[…]“ (My emphasis)33
In Extremadura, the numbers are similarly staggering, as Martín illustrates in „Day laborers and Large Agrarian Property in Southern Spain“:
„According to the Agrarian Census of Extremadura, in 1999, rural properties totaled 110,891 over an area of 3,700,000 hectares, distributed as follows:
3.6% of rural properties (3,980 properties with an area of more than 200 hectares) accounted for 64.5% of total land (2,400,000 hectares).“34 (My emphasis)
These numbers are however only the top of the ice berg. Hidden beneath the official recorded number is a much higher concentration of land in the hands of very few big landowner families. The first problem with this data is that it only records land holdings on a municipal level, which means that other holdings in the same county or province are not accurately reflected, with land that makes up one holding being split to the point where some parts of it are recorded as different plots altogether (which also leads to them not being accurately classified in terms of size). Besides that, what has to be looked at is family holdings, rather than individual ones. If we do this, we get both a clearer picture of land concentration in Andalusia, as well as of the endogamy (marriage within a specific social class/group) that serves to maintain the social position of its big landowning families. This can to a certain point be done already, by looking at the frequency with which the most characteristic surnames among the landowners are combined with each other.
Unsurprisingly, this endogamy (which the geogropher F. Ortega estimates to make up between 50 and 75% of landowner marriages) does not stop at marriages between different landowning families. It can also benefit relationship to other capitalists who do not own significant amount of land (Spain‘s big landowners are also capitalists, owing to a high degree of bureaucratic-comprador capital and a very evolved semi-feudalism). Additionally, this practice is not just meant to achieve greater economic, but also political power. Martín illustrates this:
„This fact is linked to another interesting aspect of big property, that is, its relative stability and its linkage — sometimes identity — with the ‚living forces‘ that manage local or county public life
By means of links of carnal and political kinship, a line of variable intensity could be established in a graph that would cross practically all the families of the region without passing through too distant intermediaries. The thickest line […] would unite the brothers among themselves. […] If we take into account both the owners of more than 100 hectares and those of more than 100,000 pesetas [that is, more than 621 CHF], that is to say the extensive list of 236 persons, […] 83 are related through 32 groups of siblings and 146 through 43 groups of people — including siblings — with a high probability of being related. […]“35 (My emphasis.)
Besides the strong concentration of land (as well as the large number of small landownership), another telltale sign of semi-feudalism in the Southern Spanish countryside is the semi-proletariat and the small and lower-middle peasantry (something illustrated already in the large quantity of small landownership). The semi-proletariat is mainly made up of what is referred to as „jornaleros“, day laborers. They are generally speaking landless, and are semi-proletarians because they are a combination of serf and worker, which represents the intertwined nature of bureaucratic-comprador capitalism and semi-feudalism in the Southern Spanish countryside. This phenomenom is described well in „On the Causes of Underdevelopment of Southern Spain: the Role of Agriculture“:
„[…] the capitalist economy could not suddenly emerge; the economy based on personal service could not suddenly disappear. The only possible system of economy was therefore a transitional one, combining features of the personal service system and the capitalist system. The former consists in the cultivation of the land with the tools of the surrounding peasants, with the particularity that the form of payment does not change its essence (either payment in money, as in piecework contracting; payment in kind, as in sharecropping, or in soil or land suitable for exploitation, whether forests, meadows or fishing grounds, as in labor rent in the strict sense of the word). This is a direct remainder of the economy based on personal service. The capitalist system is based on the hiring of laborers (by the year, by the season, by the day, and so on), who work the land with the owner‘s implements. The two systems mentioned above are intertwined in reality in the most diverse and capricious way: in numerous haciendas of landowners both systems are combined, being employed in different agricultural tasks.“36
Another part of the semi-proletariat is the 24% of small landowners who have their main form of income outside of the agricultural sector, that is small landowning non-agricultural workers. „The land, however small it may be, provides a shred of stability and the constant generation and self-reproduction of this smallholding means that the countryside does not empty. This justifies the fact that there are still more than 100,000 farms of 2 to 5 hectares in size, and almost 175,000 farms of less than 2 hectares, 60% of which are located in the drylands.“37
But those 24% do not even represent a fourth of small landowners. The remaining 76% work their small holdings, as well as of course, having to work for a big landlord.
What exists in the Spanish countryside today is „[a]n agrarian regime with a great weight of semi-feudalism, that is to say, tied to the big landowners, where a) (pre-capitalist) rent continues to absorb a large percentage of the capitalist surplus product or profit, b) where the system of labor rent presupposes a lower productivity of labor (no development of the productive forces), c) where leases are more expensive for the small peasantry (leonine leases as opposed to capitalist leases) and the payment in this system of labor rent is cheaper than in the ‚free‘ capitalist contract (the income of the tenant and/or sharecropper is lower than that of the agricultural proletarian), and d) where extra-economic coercion subsists as the basis of the personal dependence of the small peasantry and landless peasantry (ascription to the community, lack of civil rights, semi-serfdom).“38
As Comrade Diaz correctly pointed out, Spain is „a capitalist country which [oppresses] colonial peoples“; there exists no Spanish imperialism, but Spanish colonialism is very real. Spain itself is a semi-colony of imperialism, mainly German imperialism. Nonetheless, Spain itself possesses and contains colonies. It is a colonial power and at the same time a „prisonhouse of nations“, as Lenin aptly described the Russian Empire before the October Revolution.
In Spain, there exists:
- A Castilian nation.
- A Basque nation.
- A Catalan nation.
- A Galician nation.
- A Canarian nation.
- Parts of the Moroccan nation in the occupied cities of Melilla and Ceuta (and other, smaller areas).
- And other nationalities and peoples which may and may not constitute actual nations in the marxist sense of the term.
Of all of these, the Castilian nation is the only semi-colonial one. The others are colonial nations, because they have no political, economic or cultural independence whatsoever, being completely under the control of the Castilian nation. Spain is dominated and ruled by the Castilian nation, with some token representation of the other nations of the country — for this reason, Spanish revolutionists often reject the very use of the name „Spain“, preferring to say „Spanish State“ instead. This is, however, an infantile error. Spain as a whole is oppressed by imperialism. Spain as a whole, as a country in its entirety, is semi-colonial. All of the nations of Spain have common enemies: imperialism, mainly German imperialism, Spanish bureaucratic-comprador capitalism, and Spanish semi-feudalism — all upheld and defended by the reactionary, monarchical old State. The people of Spain must unite against these „three mountains“ weighing on their backs and overthrow them together. In this moment, promoting national separatism, while justified from a bourgeois-democratic point of view, is unacceptable for communists, who have a duty to promote the unity of the people of Spain against their real enemies. To create separate, „national Communist Parties“ would be bundist, small-bourgeois separatism. Stalin criticized this kind of view strongly:
„The Bund is heading for separatism.
And, indeed, there is nothing else it can head for. Its very existence as an extra-territorial organization drives it to separatism. The Bund does not possess a definite integral territory; it operates on ‚foreign‘ territories, whereas the neighbouring Polish, Latvian and Russian Social-Democracies are international territorial collective bodies. But the result is that every extension of these collective bodies means a ‚loss‘ to the Bund and a restriction of its field of action. There are two alternatives: either Russian Social-Democracy as a whole must be reconstructed on the basis of national federalism — which will enable the Bund to ‚secure‘ the Jewish proletariat for itself; or the territorial-international principle of these collective bodies remains in force — in which case the Bund must be reconstructed on the basis of internationalism, as is the case with the Polish and Latvian Social-Democracies.“39
The communist policy has always been to organize one international Communist Party within the boundaries of each State — not to split apart into many different fractions of a party corresponding to different nations within the State. Communist Parties are international, not national, bodies. Any other view is simply small-bourgeois separatism (in the case of organizing a „Communist Party“ of Galicia, the Basque Country, or something else) or great-nation chauvinism (in the case of insisting on one „Communist Party“ for an imperialist country and its overseas colonies).
The colonial nations of Spain must unite. The people of Spain must unite. The masses of workers, peasants and soldiers of Spain must unite. The proletariat in Spain must unite. Only then can they overthrow imperialism, bureaucratic-comprador capitalism and semi-feudalism and actually guarantee the right to national self-determination, up to and including the right to secession and to form separate national States.
5. EXAMPLE NO. 3: GREECE
Greece is the third European third world country which we will discuss in this article as an example of highly deepened bureaucratic-comprador capitalism.
Greece faces a similar situation as Spain — a highly evolved semi-feudalism in the countryside, highly deepened bureaucratic-comprador capitalism in the cities, and submission to foreign imperialist superpowers and powers (mainly German imperialism through the E.U.). The Greek working class and people, moreover, carried out an incomplete new-democratic revolution during and after the 2nd World War, which was smashed by British imperialism using nazi puppet troops, with the complicity of the revisionists. We should look a little closer at this incomplete democratic revolution and the situation which Greece finds itself in today.
Firstly, Greece is a semi-feudal country. It remains one of the largest agricultural producers in the E.U. Its agriculture is geared toward production of cash crops — Greece is the E.U.‘s largest producer of cotton and pistachios, second-largest producer of olives, third-largest producer of figs and almonds and fourth-largest producer of tobacco. This represents an economy structured according to imperialist needs.
Greece also has a significant industrial sector, accounting for almost 20% of its economy. Between 2005 and 2011, Greek industry accounted for the highest percentage of industrial output compared with 2005 in the E.U. 407,000 people are employed in manufacturing, 305,000 in construction and 14,000 in mining — compare this with industry in modern-day imperialist countries, which is mostly accounted for by construction. Moreover, Greece has a significant ship-building industry, which is one of the largest in Europe. This, of course, is made good use of by the imperialists, who through foreign direct investment control a large portion of the Greek economy, even using the developed bureaucratic-comprador capital of Greece as a nexus for investment in Albania, Northern Macedonia and other Balkan countries.40
German imperialism is by far the greatest benefactor of the dominated status of Greece. Read, for instance, the following information:
„The German government released figures on Thursday in response to parliamentary question from the Green Party which show that Germany has made €2.9 billion in interest payments on Greek bonds since 2010.
Initial agreements with the government in Athens set out that any interest earned on the bonds would be paid back to Greece when it fulfilled its reform obligations.
But the figures published by the government on Thursday show that Germany made €3.4 billion in interest payments on the bonds and only paid Greece €527 million in 2013 and €387 million the following year. That left €2.5 billion in profit, plus interest of €400 million on a loan from the KfW development bank.“41
German and U.S. imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism have been fighting economically over control of Greek shipping ever since the collapse of the Greek economy in 2008. For instance, a German consortium took over Greece‘s second-largest port in 2017. Greece had also been forced through a bailout agreement to sell a majority share in its largest port to Chinese social-imperialism in 2016.42 And in 2015, in an agreement rivaled historically only by the concessions made by China after the Opium Wars:
„[…] the Athens government awarded the German company that runs the Frankfurt Airport, Fraport, a concession to operate 14 regional airports, mostly on the islands like Mykonos and Santorini favored by tourists, for up to 50 years in the first privatization of government-owned assets demanded by the creditors.
The airport deal gives Fraport the right to run the facilities as its own for 1.2 billion euros over the 50 years and an annual rent of 23 million euros.
Fraport, which ironically is majority-owned by state and local governments in Germany, has cherry-picked among Greece’s network of regional airports to take over only those that make a profit. It is happy to leave the 30 other loss-making airports in the hands of a bankrupt state.“43
It has also been analyzed by Greek media site Helleniscope how U.S. imperialism and Chinese social-imperialism are currently using different factions of the Greek big bourgeoisie to seize control of Greek ports. From an article in July of this year:
„The passage of the ‚Greek Shipyards‘ to the Prokopiou Group is anything but accidental. On the contrary, it showed that the war between the two superpowers, targeting Greek ports, is becoming increasingly harsh.“44
Having analyzed the 3rd world character of Greek society, we will proceed to investigate the incomplete new-democratic revolution of the Greek people, which was directed by the Communist Party of Greece from 1941 to ‘49. The General Secretary of the Party wrote from prison in November 1940:
„Today the Greek people are waging a war of national liberation against Mussolini‘s fascism. In this war we must follow the Metaxas government and turn every city, every village and every house of Greece into a stronghold of the National Liberation Fight […] On this war conducted by Metaxas government all of us should give all our forces without reservation. The working people‘s and the crowning achievement for today‘s fight should be and shall be a new Greece based on work, freedom, and liberated from any foreign imperialist dependence, with a truly pan-popular culture.“45
The Communist Party of Greece had to wage a hard two-line struggle at the time in order to impose the correct line of people‘s resistance war against the impending Italian occupation, without falling into the pocket of the Metaxas government.
In June of 1941, as German imperialism attacked the Union of Socialist Council Republics, it also began to turn Greece into a colony. Athens had been occupied already in April. The Party directed its militants to organize „the struggle to defend the Soviet Union and overthrow the fascist yoke“.46 However, the Metaxas government had already carried out heavy repression against the Party, imprisoning many key directors and cadres, which put the communists in a difficult situation. Due to the new situation of German occupation and the directive from Stalin to carry out armed struggle, it became possible for the Left of the Party to organize the 6th Plenum of the Central Committee in July of 1941. The revisionists submitted to the Central Committee‘s strategy of armed national liberation struggle. Armed forces and front organizations were set up in an alliance with the Socialist Party, Agrarian Party, Democratic Union and members of the Greek bourgeois armed forces. At first, the Party and this alliance, known as the National Liberation Front, formed a joint armed force — the Greek People‘s Liberation Army — the communist-directed part of which was transformed into the Democratic Army of Greece at the beginning of the Civil War in 1946. Both the Liberation Army and the Democratic Army consisted of about 50,000 soldiers and partisans.
The Greek people‘s liberation war led to the defeat of German imperialism. However, as the British imperialists moved in to establish a new puppet government, even using former German puppet troops to do so, the Communist Party decided to boycott the elections to this new government, formed a provisional government and declared war on the British occupation and the new puppet government. This became the Greek Civil War.
Comrade Stalin opposed the seizure of political power by the communists, due to wanting to preserve „allied unity“. Clearly, this was a major mistake. The Soviet Union‘s support for the new puppet government completely contradicted the goals of the Greek proletariat and people, as represented by the Communist Party.
In 1947, the Greek Democratic Army began to develop regular warfare instead of guerrilla warfare. At the same time, it reached the height of its power, getting as close to Athens as 20 kilometers. It was clear that victory was almost within reach. However, Stalin continued his opposition to the Greek people‘s war, referring derogatorily to it only as an „uprising“. At the same time, Tito, who had broken with the international communist movement, began to undermine the Communist Party of Greece, isolating the people‘s fighters and guerrillas from the Yugoslav rear area which they had previously had access to. This situation was utilized by the British imperialists, who mounted a major „encirclement and suppression“ campaign against the Democratic Army. Having changed its strategy and tactics away from basic guerrilla tactics prematurely, the Party and its armed forces could not respond properly to this change in the situation. The people‘s war was smashed in 1949, having been at the eve of victory only a year prior. More than 100,000 communists, revolutionaries, progressives, democrats and patriots were executed, imprisoned or exiled. The only country willing to accept communist refugees from Greece was socialist Albania.47
It is clear that the new-democratic revolution in Greece was defeated as a result of the mistakes of the communists and the betrayal of the revisionists on the one hand, and the genocidal actions of the imperialists and reactionaries on the other hand.
The Communist Party of Greece adopted erroneous military strategies and tactics, while Comrade Stalin opposed the completely justified and correct revolutionary war of the Greek people due to „geopolitical“ reasons — a clearly revisionist aspect of Stalin‘s political practice after the 2nd World War, as also was seen in the surrender of arms by communist-directed partisans in France, Italy, Denmark, Norway and other countries, and his proposals to end the people‘s war in China in 1948, at the eve of victory.
In the second place, the betrayal of the revisionist Tito clique played a major role in the defeat of the Greek people‘s war. Without a stable rear area, the Greek partisans were unable to win the war, as their own strategy and tactics were lacking. The support from Albania alone was not enough to win the war.
The lessons to be drawn from the Greek people‘s war are clear: Only with a Communist Party having a correct strategy and tactics, that is, a proletarian military line free from bourgeois ideas of „regular warfare“, and directing the people‘s armed forces and the revolutionary united front, can the revolution be successful. And since the new-democratic revolution in Greece was defeated in 1949, it is still the road of the democratic revolution which the Greek people must follow in order to reach socialism and communism.
Today, the Greek people are exploited and oppressed, not only by the Greek reactionaries, monopoly capitalists and landlords, but also by imperialism — mainly German imperialism. It is the clear task of the Greek workers to take up the task of refounding the Communist Party of Greece, which has veered off its course, and reinitiate the people‘s war.
From the above points and examples, it is clear that bureaucratic-comprador-capitalist countries exist in Southern Europe. In these countries, such as Portugal, Spain and Greece, the democratic revolution was never carried out by the national bourgeoisie, and the proletariat has until today not succeeded in carrying out the new-democratic revolution. The abolition of feudalism, bureaucratic-comprador capitalism and semi-colonialism is still on the agenda in these countries.
The workers of Portugal, Spain and Greece and other similar countries must realize the stage of the revolution which they are in, refound their Communist Parties and initiate and reinitiate their people‘s wars, applying the strategy of unified people‘s war, taking the city as the guiding aspect (the „big drum“ where most of the population is concentrated) and the countryside as the foundation of the revolution.
These Communist Parties must purge themselves of revisionism, never again allow the kind of betrayal represented by the idiotic „peaceful transition“ of the traitors Carrillo and Ibárruri in Spain, or the grave mistakes of putting „geopolitics“ in the first place or applying a bourgeois military line.
As socialist revolutionaries in Switzerland, a 2nd world imperialist power which has historically greatly benefited from the defeat of the new-democratic revolution in these countries, it is our duty to commit high treason against our „own“ bourgeoisie — to fight alongside the peoples of Portugal, Spain, Greece and other countries of the third world in order to defeat our common enemy — imperialism. As Lenin correctly pointed out:
„There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is — working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one‘s own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only this, line, in every country without exception.
Everything else is deception and [daydreaming].“48
It is my hope that this article and the following ones may contribute to this task.
FOUND, REFOUND AND STRENGTHEN THE COMMUNIST PARTIES!
FINISH THE REVOLUTION, UNINTERRUPTEDLY TO COMMUNISM!
DOWN WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION, ALLIANCE OF IMPERIALISTS!
DOWN WITH GERMAN IMPERIALISM, THE MAIN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE OF PORTUGAL, SPAIN AND GREECE!
DOWN WITH SWISS IMPERIALISM, WHICH GROWS FAT ON THE BLOOD OF THE PEOPLE OF THE THIRD WORLD!
1Bureaucratic-comprador capitalism was defined by Chairman Gonzalo as follows: „We conceive of it this way: capitalism developed on top of a semi-feudal base, and under imperialist domination. It is a capitalism born late born tied to feudalism and subordinated to imperialist domination. These are the conditions that produce what Chairman Mao Tse-tung has called bureaucratic capitalism. So, bureaucratic capitalism develops bound to big monopoly capital which controls the economy of the country. This capital is made up, as Chairman Mao said, of the big capital of the large landowners, the comprador bourgeoisie, and the big bankers. Thus bureaucratic capitalism emerges, bound, I repeat, to feudalism, subordinated to imperialism, and it is monopolistic. We must keep this in mind, it is monopolistic. At a certain point in its development this capitalism is combined with State power and uses the economic means of the State, uses the State as an economic lever and this process gives rise to another faction of the big bourgeoisie, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie. This gives rise to a further development of bureaucratic capitalism which was already monopolistic and becomes, in turn, State-owned. But this whole process gives rise to conditions which ripen the revolution. This is another important concept, politically speaking, that the Chairman laid out about bureaucratic capitalism.“ („Interview with The Daily“, July 1988.)
2V. I. Lenin: „The State“, 11.07.1919.
3For instance, christianity in Europe, islam in the muslim world, confucianism in China, and so on.
4V. I. Lenin: „The State and Revolution“, August-September 1917.
5Chairman Mao Tse-tung: „On New Democracy“, January 1940.
6Chairman Mao Tse-tung: „Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society“, March 1926.
7Ibid., Note 1.
8Chairman Mao Tse-tung: „The Present Situation and Our Tasks“, 25.12.1947.
91st Congress of the Communist Party of Peru: „General Political Line“, 1988.
13Chairman Gonzalo: „Interview with The Daily“, July 1988.
14V. I. Lenin: „Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism“, January-June 1916.
15Amilcar Cabral: „Guinea and Cape Verde Against Portuguese Colonialism“, March 1961.
18V. I. Lenin: „‚The Peasant Reform‘ and the Proletarian-Peasant Revolution“, 19.03.1911.
23Some of these works are available on The Red Flag under the category „Guinea and Cape Verde“ in the „International Communist Movement“ section of the Archive of the website. Other works are available from the Marxists Internet Archive as well as in book form in the Portuguese language.
24V. I. Lenin: „Communism: Journal of the Communist International“, 12.06.1920.
25This process can be clearly seen if one studies the documents of the Peru People‘s Movement and the International Conferences convened between the last meeting of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in 1999 and the meeting which dissolved it in 2012. The Red Flag has documented these writings and events in the „Peru People‘s Movement“ and „International Meetings and Declarations“ sections of its „International Communist Movement“ archive.
26The new dogmato-revisionists are not planning to include the Philippine, Burmese or Indian comrades in this so-called „unified“ conference. Thus, to convene such an event would objectively be an act of splitting apart the Parties waging people‘s war from those which do not. In fact, if one reads demvolkedienen.org, the online organ of the German revisionists, one finds only references to „the armed struggle of the New People‘s Army“, rather than the people‘s war directed by the Communist Party of the Philippines. As of yet, there has been no mention whatsoever of the people‘s war in Burma by any of the new dogmato-revisionist organizations.
29José Diaz: „Stalin‘s Teachings — A Lodestar to the Spanish Communists“, 1940.
31Chairman Mao Tse-tung: „Talk on Questions of Philosophy“, 18.08.1964.
32See Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist): „Lessons from Our National-Revolutionary War Against Fascism, 1936-69“, 1969.
33Víctor O. Martín Martín: „Gran propiedad y productividad agrícola en el campo del sur de España“, Estudios Geograficos, January-June 2008.
34 Víctor O. Martín Martín: „Los jornaleros y la gran propiedad agraria en el
Sur de España“, Anales de Geografía no 2, 2008.
35Víctor O. Martín Martín: „Gran propiedad y productividad agrícola en el campo del sur de España“, Estudios Geograficos, January-June 2008.
36Víctor O. Martín Martín: „Sobre las causas del subdesarollo del Sur de España: El papel de la agricultura“, Cuadernos Geográficos, 44, 2009.
37Víctor O. Martín Martín: „Los jornaleros y la gran propiedad agraria en el
Sur de España“, Anales de Geografía no 2, 2008.
38Víctor O. Martín Martín: „Sobre las causas del subdesarollo del Sur de España: El papel de la agricultura“, Cuadernos Geográficos, 44, 2009.
39J. V. Stalin: „Marxism and the National Question“, January 1913.
45See Official Documents of the Communist Party of Greece, Vol. 5: 1940-45.
46Quoted in C. M. Woodhouse: „The Struggle for Greece“, 1976.
48V. I. Lenin: „The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution“, April-September 1917.