The "Theory of Three Worlds" as a Strategic Conception Smacks of Right-Wing Opportunism!

Edited by the Central Leadership of Kommunistischer Arbeiterbund Deutschlands (KABD) (Communist Workers' League of Germany). Published March 1978 / English edition March 1980. Published and distributed by Verlag Neuer Weg GmbH.

Foreword to English edition (1980)

Following the death of Mao Tse-tung, the new ruling clique in China left the socialist road and initiated the process of capitalist restoration. That was the starting point for a split within the international Marxist-Leninist movement, fostering furious liquidationist attacks against Marxism and the communist parties as well as resignation among many communists.

It is thus the duty of every communist and communist party today to meet head-on all attacks on and expose all deviations from Marxism-Leninism and Mao Tse-tung Thought, and to lead a principled struggle against liquidationist tendencies.

In its newspaper Rote Fahne and in several pamphlets, the Kommunistischer Arbeiterbund Deutschlands (KABD) (Communist Workers' League of Germany) has put out its stand on the developments in the People's Republic of China and the assaults of the leadership of the Party of Labor of Albania on Mao Tse-tung and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

This particular pamphlet proves that the "three worlds" theory as a strategic concept is a right-opportunist theory which negates class struggle as the decisive driving force behind the progress of history and the leadership of the proletariat in the class struggle. To lend this theory credibility, its proponents cite Mao Tse-tung as their authority. Their trick is to misrepresent a tactical concept developed by Mao for a special situation as a fundamental, strategic theory. The leaders of the Party of Labor of Albania also fell for this trick.

The pamphlet was first published in March, 1978. Some views on current issues (for example, on Iran) have been outdated by events since, but the basic assessment of the "three worlds" theory has been only too evidently confirmed by the actions of the Chinese leadership. This pamphlet is number 2 of the CHINA AKTUELL series. Other publications to date in this series are:

CHINA AKTUELL 1, published in August, 1977. Documents the development of the class struggle in China and points out what Teng Hsiao-ping's rehabilitation meant in 1977: China's leadership is drifting in the Right deviationist wind!

In CHINA AKTUELL 3 with the title "Defend Mao Tse-tung Thought!" (Verteidigt die Mao Tse-tungideen!), published in February, 1979, the KABD Central Committee repulses the attacks of the Albanian Party leaders upon Mao Tse-tung and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

CHINA AKTUELL 4, published in September, 1979, documents the restoration of capitalism in China since the seizure of power by Hua Kuo-feng and Teng Hsiao-ping's rehabilitation.

In their struggle today against the new revisionists, Marxist-Leninists have no internationally recognized, experienced mass party – one like the Communist Party of China under Mao Tse-tung's leadership was in the fight against the treachery of the Khrushchev revisionists – to fall back upon, which renders the struggle extremely difficult. International cooperation and consultation must therefore be developed among the Marxist-Leninist forces. We want to contribute to this goal by translating this pamphlet into English and French.

Let us join together to uphold the red flag of revolution under the slogan:

Workers of the world and oppressed peoples, unite!

The Editor

March 1980



1. Mao Tse-tung's Tactical Concept of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds

2. The Exceptional Economic and Political Situation at the Beginning of 1974

3. The Successful Special Session of the UN General Assembly in April 1974 and Mao's Tactical Concept

4. Teng Hsiao-ping's Attempt to Transform Mao's Tactical Concept into a Strategic Concept.

5. The Theory of the Three Worlds Is Extended to a Strategic Concept of a Right-Wing Opportunist Line

6. The "Three Worlds" Theorists Distort and Falsify the Principles of Marxist-Leninist Classical Teachings

7. The Theory of the Three Worlds Is Contrary to the Four Basic Contradictions in the World Today

8. The "Theory of the Three Worlds" and the Question Concerning the "Defence of the Fatherland"

9. The Debate within the International Marxist-Leninist Movement




  1. Mao Tse-tung's Tactical Concept of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds


It is now a year since the stormy debate flared up in the Marxist-Leninist movement of various countries regarding the so-called "theory of the three worlds". The ideological struggle for and against this theory has divided the communist groups or else deepened the already existing differences between them, whereby the conflicting parties have rallied around two main camps: on the one hand the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand those of the Albanian Party of Labour.

After Mao Tse-tung's death the new leaders began to set up the "theory of the three worlds" as a strategic concept, almost as a "New General Line", which was then presented to the public as a fully-fledged ideological political line on the 1st November 1977 in a lengthy article in the Chinese party paper, Renmin Ribao.

The article is entitled "Chairman Mao's Theory of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds is a Major Contribution to Marxism-Leninism", which in itself is misleading for the following reasons:

1) Mao did not put forward a "theory" but merely a tactical concept.

2) The "Theory of the Three Worlds" is not a contribution to Marxism-Leninism but a right-wing opportunist line.


Before this summary of right-wing opportunist views was presented by the editors of Renmin Ribao it was hard to believe the facts revealed in the party paper of the Albanian Party of Labour Zeri i Popullit on 7th July 1977. The article may have been somewhat abstract, but it did point out the essence of this faked strategic concept. We would like to examine the original copy of this strategic conception as it appeared in Renmin Ribao. The English version of the article was printed in the Peking Review, No. 45/1977, and also in pamphlet form by the Foreign Languages Press, Peking (1st edition). Our quotations are taken from the pamphlet.

The advocates of the "theory of the three worlds" refer to the teachings of Mao Tse-tung in order to lend more credibility to their strategic concept and at the outset are very quick to emphasize Mao's merits:

"Under Chairman Mao's leadership the Chinese people triumphed in the revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism, founded the socialist People's Republic of China and brought about a radical change in the situation in the East and throughout the world. In guiding the Chinese revolution through its various stages, he correctly solved such fundamental problems as the seizure of state power through waging armed struggle to encircle the cities from the countryside, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat through winning nation-wide victory in the new-democratic revolution and the switch over to the socialist revolution, and the development of socialism and the prevention of capitalist restoration through continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. In a new period and under new circumstances, he accumulated and summed up a rich store of experience in revolution and construction and greatly developed Marxist-Leninist theory. This is a valuable asset not only to the Chinese people but also to the international proletariat and revolutionary people of the world." (Renmin Ribao: "Chairman Mao's Theory of the Differentiation of the Three Worlds is a Major Contribution to Marxism-Leninism", p. 1-2. From now on the title will be shortened to "Chairman Mao's Theory.")

No mention is made of the fact that Mao rendered an outstanding contribution to the development of Marxism-Leninism with his brilliant idea of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and its successful execution. The systematic breaking down of the achievements of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution since the reinstatement of Teng Hsiao-ping shows that this is no chance error.

The new leaders of the Chinese Communist Party talk of "Chairman Mao's theory of the differentiation of the three worlds":

"Chairman Mao's theory of the three worlds scientifically epitomizes the objective realities of class struggle on the world arena today. In this theory he inherited, defended and developed basic Marxist-Leninist principles." (op. cit., p. 3-4)

Where and when did Mao devise such a theory and raise it to the level of a strategic concept? At which party congress was it resolved? Not a word of this!

The editors of the Renmin Ribao write extremely dubiously:

"In his talk with the leader of a third world country in February 1974, Chairman Mao said, 'In my view, the United States and the Soviet Union form the first world. Japan, Europe and Canada, the middle section, belong to the second world. We are the third world.' The third world has a huge population. With the exception of Japan, Asia belongs to the third world. The whole of Africa belongs to the third world, and Latin America too." (op. cit., p. 4)

Why is the "leader of a third world country" not mentioned by name? Why is the conversation not printed in its full form, but merely these two sentences, which have been taken out of their context? Are they afraid that the real meaning behind that conversation would become evident? But we do not want to be unfair: the text continues with a few more scraps quoted from the conversation:


"China belongs to the third world. For China cannot compare with the rich or powerful countries politically, economically, etc. She can be grouped only with the relatively poor countries." (op. cit., p. 51)

"Imperialism does exist in this world. In our opinion, Russia may be called a social-imperialist country, and this system engenders war. Not that you or we or the third world want a world war. Nor do the people in the rich countries want a world war. This sort of thing happens irrespectively of man's will." (op. cit., p. 65-66)

"They may reach some agreement, but I wouldn't take it as something solid. It's transitory, and deceptive, too. In essence, rivalry is primary." (op. cit., p. 66)

So this is the entire "theory"! What was really at stake in the situation at that time? In 1973/74 considerable unrest had arisen amongst the peoples of the developing countries, above all in those countries rich in raw materials. In order to understand the situation more clearly, we must go into more detail.

2. The Exceptional Economic and Political Situation at the Beginning of 1974

Almost two thirds of the world's known oil resources are to be found in the Middle East and are plundered by Anglo-American oil companies. Running costs are low since the oil lies relatively near the surface, the oil is there in great abundance and the wages are low.

In 1959 the seven multi-national oil companies lowered the price of oil as a move against the competing independent companies, which were giving them problems on the market. As a result the oil producing countries lost 10% of their yearly tax intake, about 132 000 000 dollars. This move brought these countries into sharp conflict with the imperialist plunderers, and on September 9, 1959, five of these countries, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Venezuela, founded the Organisation of Petrol Exporting Countries, known as OPEC. It was the first time that raw material exporting countries had banded together to defend their common interests. OPEC later extended to eleven countries.

By means of a well-directed propaganda campaign the multi-national oil companies created the impression that their profit-rate had fallen drastically, although they were able to finance their enormous expansion in other fields from the profits they had made with Middle East oil, from the tanker fleets, the oil refineries and the distribution network they had built up. The direct investments made by the American oil companies in the oil producing countries of the Middle East up until the end of 1972 came to a total of 1.8 billion dollars, their yearly profit however was 2.4 billion dollars, which means they achieved a profit-rate of 130%.

In 1973 the oil-producing countries raised the price of crude oil. The multinational oil companies responded by withholding supplies to the consumer countries, thus creating the "energy crisis". Their intention was to push the consumer countries into putting moral pressure on the Arab oil-producing countries, so that they should be blackmailed into forcefully giving up their ideas of raising the prices. The oil-producing countries, however, stood their ground, thus providing all raw-material-exporting countries with an example of how they could to a certain extent determine the prices for their raw materials if they would only act together.

In long months of tough and embittered negotiations the OPEC countries had been able to raise the price of oil to four times the old price, an indication of the extent to which they had previously been shortcut in favour of the multi-national oil companies and the consumers at the end of the line. The other raw-material-exporting countries, cheated by the imperialist plunderers throughout years of neo-colonialist dependence, also hoped that consolidated action would enable a general rearrangement of the prices for their raw materials and the mining rights thereof.

This policy was to be prepared at a special session of the UN General Assembly for the 'Investigation of the problems of raw materials and development'. This special session was proposed by the President of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria, Boumedienne, and held on the 9th April 1974.


3. The Successful Special Session of the UN General Assembly in April 1974 and Mao's Tactical Concept

The situation before and during this special session was characterized by a mood of militancy and a striving towards united action on the part of the representatives of the developing countries, in particular in the struggle against the imperialist superpowers: the US imperialists and the social imperialists. In order to characterize this situation, we would like to quote a few striking passages from the speech made by the representatives of the developing countries which reflect the general mood. The following quotations were taken from the Peking Review, No. 18/1974:

John Malecela, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tanzania…. "We should strive to establish a new economic order based on the principles of sovereign equality of states, self-determination of peoples and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries."

Primo Jose Esono Mica, Equatorial Guinea's Permanent Representative to the United Nations…. "The rich countries attempt to perpetuate their hegemony over the poor countries at the expense of the latter." The Third World countries now want "a true economic independence, want to eliminate foreign monopolies and to control and exploit their national resources to the benefit of their peoples," he said. "The Third World countries are obliged to safeguard our dignity and to enrich and consolidate this independence through the effective exercise of national sovereignty against all hegemony." "It is necessary to establish a new world economic order"….

Burundi's Foreign Minister Artemon Simbananiye said, "The political leaders of the developed countries have never ceased telling their compatriots that the aid to the developing countries has cost state resources dearly. But they have never published the statistics relating to the massive transfer of capital from the underdeveloped countries to the industrialized countries which prove that it is the poor countries that aid the development of the rich countries."

Baba-Car Ba, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Senegal, noted that "the accelerated industrialisation of the rich countries has only been made possible by the exploitation at low price of the raw materials which the Third World possessed or are possessing."

The rise in the price of petroleum and reduction of its sales, he said, have in the end "demonstrated how fragile were the economies of the rich countries which depended basically on big quantities of raw materials originated from the Third World."

The Third World countries, he noted, have become aware of their own strength and their need of solidarity. He said: "Taking shape among the Third World countries is a new solidarity which opts not for the redistribution of profits but for the exploitation of new resources and the establishment of a new form of financial assistance."


Charles-David Ganado, Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of the Congo, … pointed out that the so-called aid of the developed countries "is more and more used as a means of domination and blackmail."

Reynaldo Galindo, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations, … stressed that it is necessary to recognize the permanent sovereignty of each country over its natural resources.

April 19. Nskalije Aloys, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation of Rwanda…. "The price for manufactured goods soared scandalously while that for raw materials dropped steadily. The developing countries have time and again denounced such exploitation of man by man"….

Ahmed Ezzeldin Hilal, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Wealth of Egypt, said that … when the prices of primary commodities, like wheat and food products of which developed countries export a great share, skyrocket, no one comments. If developing countries ask for equitable and just prices for their exports, then they are accused of endangering and disrupting the world economy.

Said AI-Ghobash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, stressed … that to break up the solidarity of developing countries is in fact to subject them to an intolerable exploitation by the powerful industrial countries and their international companies.

Sangye Penjor, Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations, stressed that "what is really needed is to terminate a long exploitative period of colonialism and neo-colonialism in the Third World."

P.O. Etiang, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, said that "while the rich developed nations have continued to amass wealth, the poor developing nations can hardly obtain the basic necessities of life." He pointed out that "aid", which has been viewed as "charity" from the rich countries to the poor ones, has perpetuated the old colonial heritage of master-and-servant relationship which has greatly compromised the political independence of the recipient countries. Such "aid", tied with political strings as it necessarily has to be, has often been given without due consideration for the national priorities of the recipient countries. The terms under which "aid" has been given has been such that the burden of external indebtedness of recipient countries continues to increase in geometrical progression, he noted.

Haissam Kelani, Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, stressed that "the direct confrontation between the peoples and colonialism, discrimination and apartheid, foreign aggression and occupation, neo-colonialism, imperialism and Zionism remains an incontestable reality in our epoch." "It is certain that the security of all countries, especially those of the Third World, will be ineluctably realized through economic liberation, an end to oppression and exploitation by monopolies, and the establishment of genuine national independence," he said.

P.J. Patterson, Jamaican Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, said that it is necessary to establish a new international economic order with a view to correcting the present inequitable international economic relations to guarantee an adequate flow of real income to the developing countries, arising from the proper exploitation and use of their resources.

Mubashir Hasan, Minister of Finance, Planning and Development of Pakistan…. "Over the last few decades the developing countries have struggled successfully for their political independence. They are now struggling for their economic emancipation"….

Njoroge Mungai, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, said that "developing countries have been suffering for a long time from the effects of unfavourable terms of trade." He held that stable and equitable prices for the commodities of the developing countries on the markets of the developed countries should be ensured.

Abdullah Malikyar, Chairman of the Afghanistan Delegation, said: "We earnestly hope that the legacies of the colonial era and alien domination which still persist in certain parts of the world are terminated on the basis of self-determination and the free will of the people."

Zenon Rossiades, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations, pointed out that a measure of economic independence for the countries newly free from colonialism was required to ensure that the independence was complete.

Foreign Minister D. Doralta of Chad: "According to the verifications made by several African states," he continued, "the assistance accorded by the industrialized powers was not designed to contribute to the development of the economy of the recipient countries. They apply a whole set of economic measures which impose their way on others and keep the people of the recipient countries subjected to their pressure."

He stressed that the developing countries had to fight still more fiercely against new forms of oppression." "It is time that the politics and economy of the Third World cease to be controlled by others. It is also time that foreign monopolies stop obstructing the progress of the Third World countries and stop imposing on it the character of lopsided single economy."

He expressed the hope that "the Third World countries which are forced to suffer from an increasingly aggravated economic backwardness, misery and famine, will unite to form a complete unit with one soul, so as to eliminate the current system of exploitation and establish a more independent economy."

Qais Al-Zawawi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, stressed that "what is required now is a search for laws and rules to govern the relationship among nations and to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. These efforts must recognize the right of every nation (1) to own and control its raw materials as well as its strategic economic sectors, (2) to control foreign enterprise within its borders and (3) to participate in setting the bases and the rules that organize international economic relations."

Kamel Maghur, Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Republic to the United Nations, said in his speech: The monopolist enterprises operating in the developing countries exploited the natural resources of these countries for the sole purpose of increasing their profits. The industrial countries have not confined themselves to the support of their monopolist corporations when these have meddled in the domestic affairs of the developing countries; more than that, they continue to obstruct the exercise of sovereignty by the peoples over their natural resources.

After twenty days of stormy discussion and hard criticism of the existing world economic system and the plundering methods of the imperialist countries, particularly of the superpowers USA and Soviet Union, the UN Special Session passed two important documents, both of which had been drafted and put forward by the group of 77 states. This outstanding political situation is the background to the conversation which Mao Tse-tung had held a few weeks before the Special Session of the United Nations. During these weeks Mao Tse-tung had several discussions with leading politicians of the developing countries, of which his discussion with the Algerian president Boumedienne was probably the most important.

It is evident from these political discussions that Mao Tse-tung was striving to support the up-and-coming movement of the developing countries as far as possible and to give it a clear and anti-imperialist line directed against the two superpowers.

That was a correct and necessary tactical conception in the situation at that time.

The expression "Third World" is meant to characterize the consolidated action of the developing countries as a united front, and the division of the developed capitalist countries into "First" and "Second World" is meant to direct the struggle against the superpowers, making these the principal targets while taking advantage of the contradictions between primary imperialism (the superpowers) and secondary imperialism (the weaker imperialist states). When Mao, taking into consideration the situation at that time, particularly emphasizes that

"China belongs to the third world. For China cannot compare with the rich or powerful countries politically, economically etc. She can be grouped only with the relatively poor countries."


– then this was meant to express China's bond with the developing countries and her readiness to lend them her selfless support, but it is not meant to deny her socialist character. From a tactical point of view this is fully correct. Mao's aim was to help bring about a united front of the developing countries against the most dangerous imperialists, the two superpowers.

4. Teng Hsiao-ping's Attempt to Transform Mao's Tactical Concept into a Strategic Concept

But what became of Mao's tactical concept? It was transformed into a strategic concept and developed further on these lines.

This transformation into a strategic concept was initiated by Teng Hsiao-ping in his speech before the UN Special Session in April 1974, where he led the Chinese delegation. After explaining the differentiation of the three worlds he maintained that the peoples of the "Third World"

"constitute a revolutionary motive force propelling the wheel of world history and are the main force combating colonialism, imperialism, and particularly the superpowers." (Peking Review, No. 15/74, Supplement p. II)

Mao Tse-tung never said that. Of course the oppressed peoples can free themselves from the imperialist domination in a national liberation struggle, but they cannot destroy imperialism and therefore cannot be the main force in the revolutionary struggle against imperialism in general and the imperialist superpowers in particular. The heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people against the military aggression of US imperialism showed that it is possible for a small country to defeat even the superpower USA and win the war. As Mao Tse-tung emphasized in May 1970.

"A just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little support. A weak nation can defeat a strong, a small nation can defeat a big. The people of a small country can certainly defeat aggression by a big country, if only they dare to rise in struggle, dare to take up arms and grasp in their own hands the destiny of their country. This is the law of history." (Peking Review, No. 15/74, p. 10-11)

Vietnam proved that this is true, but Vietnam could never be able to destroy US imperialism and overthrow the rule of American monopoly-capitalism. Only the proletariat can do that, being the most revolutionary and advanced class. In The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (B) Short Course (p. 9) it is pointed out that


"Marx and Engels … showed that the capitalist system would fall just as serfdom had fallen, and that capitalism was creating its own gravedigger in the person of the proletariat. They showed that only the class struggle of the proletariat, only the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie would rid humanity of capitalism and exploitation."

The question of the main force played an important role in the conflict with the petit-bourgeois 'Populists':

"But the leading role of the working class was not understood by the Narodniks. The Russian Narodniks erroneously held that the principal revolutionary force was not the working class, but the peasantry." (op. cit., p. 10)

"Secondly, the Narodniks did not regard the working class as the foremost class in the revolution. They dreamed of attaining socialism without the proletariat. They considered that the principal revolutionary force was the peasantry – led by the intelligentsia – and the peasant commune, which they regarded as the embryo and foundation of socialism." (op. cit., p. 12)

Now Teng Hsiao-ping has also joined the populists. No mention in his speech of the leading role of the working class nor of class struggle developing rapidly in the capitalist countries, including the USA and the Soviet Union. This is no coincidence, as is clear from what Mao Tse-tung once fittingly said of him: "This person never gets to grips with class struggle, he never speaks of this main linking factor."

Teng Hsiao-ping declared that the peoples of the "Third World" were the revolutionary motive force propelling the wheel of world history", for "they have the strongest desire to seek liberation and development." Since no mention is made of the struggle of the working class and the proletarian revolution the national liberation remains an isolated act. This contradicts the teachings of Marxism-Leninism but also the Proposal for a General Line of the International Communist Movement, put forward by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in June 1963:

"Our views are perfectly clear. In the national liberation movement it is necessary both to insist on leadership by the proletariat and to establish a broad anti-imperialist united front. What is wrong with these views? Why should the leadership of the CPSU distort and attack these correct views?" (The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, p. 205)

In his lecture on The Foundations of Leninism, held at Sverdlov University in April 1924, Stalin said:

"Leninism has proved, and the imperialist war and the revolution in Russia have confirmed that the national problem can be solved only in connection with and on the basis of the proletarian revolution, and that the road to victory of the revolution in the West lies through the revolutionary alliance with the liberation movement of the colonies and dependent countries against imperialism. The national problem is a part of the general problem of the proletarian revolution, a part of the problem of the dictatorship of the proletariat." (Stalin, Problems of Leninism, Moscow 1945, "The Foundations of Leninism," p. 61)

5. The Theory of the Three Worlds is Extended to a Strategic Concept of a Right-Wing Opportunist Line

After Teng Hsiao-ping had been reinstated in July 1977 the "theory of the three worlds" was extended to a strategic concept and finally appeared as a systematic right-wing opportunist line in the article by the editors of the Renmin Ribao of November 1, 1977. Particular stress was laid on the fact that the concept was a strategic one, which is to say of a principal nature, and not simply a tactical move. Groups from other countries were called in to speak so as to lend the theory more substance. These groups thought nothing of falsely transforming Mao Tse-tung's tactical differentiation of three worlds, applicable to the exceptional situation at the beginning of 1974, into a "strategic concept".

"The strategic concept of the three worlds, formulated by Chairman Mao in 1974, starts from the interests of the world proletariat and constitutes an indispensable guide for orienting our struggle in the complex world we live in." (The Forge, Canada, cit. in Peking Review, No. 43/77, p. 28)

The theory of the three worlds as elaborated by Chairman Mao Tse-tung is "a scientific analysis of the world today." (L'Humanité Rouge, France and the Netherlands, cit. in Peking Review, No. 44/77, p. 26)

"If one seeks truth from the facts of the world today, the correctness and vital importance of Chairman Mao's theory of the three worlds stands out with brilliant clarity. It is an indispensable guide to revolutionary action."

"Materialist dialectics shows that arbitrary assertions can never be a substitute for seeking truth from the facts," the article went on. “However loudly people assert their infallibility, their purity, however abusive they get, however they denigrate Chairman Mao, the truth is still there, the facts are still there." (Vanguard, Australia, cit. in Peking Review, No. 50/77 p. 28)

"Under these circumstances, it is important for all revolutionary people to master Mao Tsetung's theory of the differentiation of the three worlds, a theory which identifies the two superpowers as the most dangerous enemies of the world's people." (Red Flag, Norway, cit. in Peking Review, No. 3/78, p. 24)

It is then claimed that it was "Mao Tsetung's view that the third world countries are the main force of world revolution." (op. cit., p.24)

"We consider the analysis and the strategy of the three worlds as the correct Marxist-Leninist line in the class struggle today." (Communique of the C.P. of Switzerland/ML, cit. in Peking Review, No. 3/78, p. 27)

These quotations illustrate the totally uncritical manner in which some Marxist-Leninist groups have adopted the incorrect views of China's leaders of today. Like parrots they eagerly take up the claim that Mao Tse-tung devised the "Theory of the Three Worlds" as a strategic conception, whereas Mao merely made some remarks of a tactical nature in a conversation with the president of a developing country. Using underhand methods the new leaders of the Chinese Communist Party have concocted a theory of strategical nature.

We have already quoted Stalin. In their strategic concept the editors of Renmin Ribao also refer to Stalin and have the nerve to maintain:

"Stalin pointed out that the national liberation movement should embrace all the forces opposing imperialist aggression, regardless of their class status and political attitude. By way of example he indicated that although the Emir of Afghanistan held fast to monarchy as an institution and the leaders of the Egyptian national liberation movement were of bourgeois origin and were opposed to socialism, the struggles they waged for the independence of their nations were, objectively, revolutionary struggles, for they served to 'weaken, disintegrate and undermine imperialism'" (Renmin Ribao, Chairman Mao's Theory...," p. 14-15).

Given in this form the quotation is one-sided and therefore misleading. This is what Stalin literally said:

"The struggle the Emir of Afghanistan is waging for the independence of Afghanistan is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the monarchist views of the Emir and his associates, for it weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism; whereas the struggle of 'desperate' democrats and 'socialists', 'revolutionaries' and republicans such as, for example, Kerenski and Tsereteli, Renaudel and Scheidemann, Chemov and Dan, Henderson and Clynes, waged during the imperialist war was a reactionary struggle, for its result was the whitewashing, the strengthening, the victory of imperialism. For the same reasons the struggle the Egyptian merchants and bourgeois intellectuals are waging for the independence of Egypt is objectively a revolutionary struggle despite the bourgeois origin and bourgeois title of the leaders of the Egyptian national movement, despite the fact that they are opposed to socialism; whereas the fight the British Labour government is waging to perpetuate Egypt's dependent position is for the same reasons a reactionary struggle, despite the proletarian origin and the proletarian title of the members of that government, despite the fact that they are 'for' socialism." (Stalin, Problems of Leninism, p. 63. Emphasis by Stalin)


The expression "Third World" used to embrace a group of peoples or states presupposes unity and joint action in the struggle against imperialism, in particular against the superpowers. From time to time this may be possible as was the case at the beginning of 1974 when Mao Tse-tung held the above mentioned conversation. Stalin makes a distinction between revolutionary and reactionary struggle within the national movement, but this fact is suppressed by the three worlds theorists on the editing body of the Renmin Ribao.

It becomes much more evident what Stalin really meant if we bring to view the class contents of what he said, and exactly this is concealed by the editors.

"As a consequence it is necessary for the proletariat to support determinedly and actively the national liberation movement of the suppressed and dependent peoples. This does not mean, of course, that the proletariat must support every national movement, everywhere and always, in every single case. It means that support must be given to such national movements as tend to weaken, to overthrow imperialism and not to strengthen and preserve it. Cases occur when the national movement in certain oppressed countries comes into conflict with the interests of the development of the proletarian movement. In such cases, of course, support is entirely out of the question. The question of the rights of nations is not an isolated, self-sufficient question; it is a part of the general problem of the proletarian revolution, subordinate to the whole, and must be considered from the point of view of the whole." (op. cit., p. 62)

Take Iran, for instance, which is also counted as part of the "Third World". The Shah is a major shareholder of the Fr. Krupp steel concern and is part and parcel of imperialism; look at Chile where the military junta butchered many thousands of workers and returned the factories into the hands of the expropriating monopolies of both home and abroad. Was the brutal oppression of the masses and the murdering of over one hundred thousand communists and other revolutionaries at the hands of the military regime in Indonesia in the interests of the national liberation struggle, or did it serve the interests of the imperialists? The struggle led by the regime was not revolutionary but reactionary. In order to conduct their national liberation struggle against imperialist exploitation to a successful end the peoples of Iran, Chile, Indonesia and other countries must first overthrow their own reactionary regimes which act as guard dogs for the imperialists, either banish or imprison them. In its Proposal for a General Line in 1963 the Central Committee of the CCP declared:


"Another idea often propagated by the leaders of the CPSU is that a country can build socialism under no matter what leadership, including even that of a reactionary nationalist like Nehru. This is still farther removed from the idea of proletarian leadership." (The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, p. 205)

Today's leaders of the CCP no longer want to believe this. They imply that it is all the same whether the leaders of "Third World" countries are revolutionary or reactionary, all in all they make up the principal force against imperialism, independent of the struggle of the proletariat. But they are mistaken.

The international revolutionary proletariat must and will support the national movements in the developing countries which are of objectively revolutionary nature and aimed directly against imperialism, in particular against the superpowers; it will support the people's struggle for social liberation in those developing countries which have reactionary regimes and are objectively the outposts of the imperialist powers. The "national struggle" of fascist regimes or military dictatorships is reactionary and serves merely to retain a few crumbs more from the imperialist masters' table.


6. The "Three Worlds" Theorists Distort and Falsify the Principles of Marxist-Leninist Classical Teachings

So we have to differentiate between the countries of the "Third World" and cannot generally declare them to be the principal force in the struggle against imperialism and in particular against the superpowers. The editors of Renmin Ribao clearly commit forgery when they base their views on the teaching of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. Their reference to Lenin in an attempt to lend their incorrect views more credibility is particularly absurd as Lenin goes even further in his rejection of reactionary regimes. At the Second Congress of the Communist International he declared:

"There has been a certain rapprochement between the bourgeoisie of the exploiting countries and that of the colonies, so that very often – perhaps even in most cases – the bourgeoisie of the oppressed countries, while it does support the national movement, is in full accord with the imperialist bourgeoisie, i.e., joins forces with it against all revolutionary movements and revolutionary classes."

From this Lenin draws the conclusion

"that we, as Communists, should and will support bourgeois liberation movements in the colonies only when they are genuinely revolutionary, and when their exponents do not hinder our work of educating and organizing in a revolutionary spirit the peasantry and the masses of the exploited. If these conditions do not exist, the Communists in these countries must combat the reformist bourgeoisie, to which the heroes of the Second International also belong." (Taken from the report of the Commission on the National and Colonial Question, July 26, 1920, Second Congress of the Communist International, Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 31, p. 242)


We have seen that Teng Hsiao-ping and his learned right-wing opportunist pupils from the Renmin Ribao completely ignore proletarian internationalism and class struggle as the driving force in the development of world history. In their eyes all the peoples of the "Third World" form a compact mass for, as Teng Hsiao-ping once said, "It does not matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice." They refer to what Stalin said in 1942, i.e., after Hitler-Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, when he depicted the formation of two rival camps:

"'It may now be regarded as beyond dispute that in the course of the war imposed upon the nations by Hitlerite Germany, a radical demarcation of forces and the formation of two opposite camps have taken place: the camp of the Italo-German coalition, and the camp of the Anglo-Soviet-American coalition' and that 'it follows that the logic of facts is stronger than any other logic.'"(Renmin Ribao, "Chairman Mao's Theory...", p. 15-16)

The conclusion drawn by the "three worlds" theorists is purest demagogy:

"Can we blame Stalin for not strictly following the formula of the capitalist world vs. the socialist world in this instance? Can we doubt the great significance of the division of the world's political forces at the time into the fascist camp and the anti-fascist camp? Can the division of the world's political forces be based not on the logic of facts but on a logic that transcends facts?" (op. cit., p. 16)

The anti-fascist coalition against Hitler-Germany was a tactical concept for the concrete situation at that time. In this way the editors of the Renmin Ribao attempt to justify their strategic concept of the "Theory of the Three Worlds".

Those who propagate the "theory of the three worlds" also ignore socialism as a powerful force in the worldwide struggle against imperialism. In his speech at the Special Session of the UN in April 1974 Teng Hsiao-ping declared:

"It is not the one or two superpowers that are really powerful: the really powerful are the Third World and the people of all countries uniting together and daring to fight and daring to win." (Peking Review, No. 15/74, Supplement, p. III)

He makes no mention of the socialist countries supporting the struggle of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples. As a result of the betrayal of the Soviet revisionists and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and a few other countries dependent on her, the original socialist camp crumbled, but not the community of the countries which remained socialist. Which conclusions do the editors of the Renmin Ribao draw from all this?

"True, there are China and the other socialist countries, but what was once the socialist camp no longer exists, nor do historical conditions necessitate its formation for a second time.…

Can we shut our eyes to the events taking place in this period and make believe that the imperialist camp and the socialist camp still exist in the world and regard the opposition between the two as the principal contradiction in world politics? Can we just exclude the Soviet Union and the countries subservient to it from the socialist camp while sticking to the formula and assume that, apart from the socialist countries, all the rest are just an undifferentiated reactionary mass constituting the capitalist world?" (Renmin Ribao, "Chairman Mao's theory...," p. 20/21)


This is nothing but demagogy and serves to conceal the role of the socialist countries in the international proletarian revolution and the revolutionary struggle for national liberation. Even if very few or even only two socialist countries should escape the claws of revisionism and not fall back into capitalist ways, or even if only one single socialist country should remain, then it is still their duty to cultivate proletarian internationalism together and support the revolution throughout the world. For the victory of socialism in one country is not an end in itself but helps to develop and promote revolutions in other countries. In a speech on "Questions and Answers" Stalin said in 1925:

"One thing or the other: either we regard our country as the base of the proletarian revolution, either we have, as Lenin said, all that is needed to build a complete socialist society – in which case we can and must build such a society in expectation of complete victory over the capitalist elements in our national economy; or we do not regard our country as the base of the revolution, we have not got what is needed to build socialism, and we cannot build a socialist society.…

On the other hand, it is obvious that the first country to be victorious can retain the role of standard-bearer of the world revolutionary movement only on the basis of consistent internationalism, only on the basis of the foreign policy of the October Revolution, and that the path of least resistance and of nationalism in foreign policy is the path of the isolation and decay of the first country to be victorious.

That is why losing the international revolutionary perspective leads to the danger of nationalism and degeneration." (Works, Vol. 7, pp. 168+171)


Today's leaders of the Chinese Communist Party no longer act according to these fundamental principles. As early as 1974 at the UN Special Session Teng Hsiao-ping threw Stalin's Marxist-Leninist point of view overboard in that he simply pronounced another line.

"As a result of the emergence of social-imperialism, the socialist camp which existed for a time after World War II is no longer in existence. Owing to the law of the uneven development of capitalism, the Western imperialist bloc, too, is disintegrating. Judging from the changes in international relations, the world today actually consists of three parts, or three worlds, that are both interconnected and in contradiction to one another. The United States and the Soviet Union make up the First World. The developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and other regions make up the Third World. The developed countries between the two make up the Second World." (Peking Review, No. 15/74, Supplement, p. I)

It is very skillful, the way he mixes Mao's tactical conceptions on the differentiation of three worlds with his own assertion that the fundamental contradictions in the world have changed.

7. The "Theory of the Three Worlds" Is Contrary to the Four Basic Contradictions in the World Today

In their Proposal for a General Line made in 1963 the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party of that time formulated the four fundamental contradictions in the world today:

"The contradictions between the socialist camp and the capitalist camp;

the contradictions between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie of the capitalist countries;

the contradictions between the oppressed nations and imperialism;

the contradictions among the various imperialist countries and among the various monopoly-capitalist groups." (The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, p. 7)

These fundamental contradictions apply now as they did then. They form a dialectical unity and should not be separated or obscured. Teng Hsiao-ping and the editors of Renmin Ribao do just this in that they transform the four fundamental contradictions into contradictions between the "three worlds". In doing this they allow the socialist countries to vanish amidst the ranks of the "Third World". They underline this with the extremely bold assertion:

"Therefore, this theory of the differentiation of the three worlds is the most comprehensive summing up of the various fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world." (Renmin Ribao, "Chairman Mao's theory...," p. 22)

In order to make this strategic concept of the "theory of the three worlds" more credible they insinuate that Mao Tse-tung was the author of "this scientific thesis". Although the "theory of the three worlds" was only developed to a systematic political line after Teng Hsiao-ping's reinstatement and met with resistance not only in the international Marxist-Leninist movement but also in the Chinese Communist Party, it was the "gang of four" that had to take the blame:

"In our own country, there are persons who frantically oppose Chairman Mao's theory of the three worlds. They are none other than Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan, or the 'gang of four'.…

To a certain extent, their disruptive activities had a deleterious effect, but our party and government have unswervingly adhered to the revolutionary line in foreign affairs formulated by Chairman Mao. The 'gang of four' in no way represent the Chinese people. They are traitors disowned by the Chinese people." (op. cit., p. 24)

It is as simple as that! Everyone who should express doubts as to the correctness of the strategic concept of today's Chinese leaders supports the "gang of four". There then follows a whole passage devoted to the "main force against imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism":

"The countries and people of the third world constitute the main force in the world-wide struggle against the hegemonism of the two superpowers and against imperialism and colonialism.…

What are the grounds for our saying this? Since the end of World War II, the revolutionary people of Asia, Africa, Latin America and other regions, standing in the forefront of the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist struggle…." (Renmin Ribao, "Chairman Mao's theory...," p. 39)

But take note! Since the end of World War II a whole line of countries and peoples in Europe, Asia and America have overthrown imperialist rule, done away with the capitalist social order and introduced socialism with the support of the Soviet Union, at that time the basis of world revolution.

This socialist camp, along with the proletariat struggling in the capitalist countries, formed the principal force and the main support of national liberation in the colonies and semi-colonies which one by one gained their national independence. But they were by no means entirely independent. In Revolutionarer Weg, Nos. 16 and 17 (Revolutionary Way, theoretical organ of the KABD) we have shown in an exact analysis that in the meantime these countries have been forced into a neo-colonial position, becoming economically and to an extent politically dependent on the monopolies of the imperialist countries (not only of the two superpowers). At the end of RW 17 we have shown how these countries can liberate themselves from this imperialist strangle-hold:


"We already pointed out in Part I that the developing countries must be economically independent to attain genuine political independence. Political and economic independence constitute a unity which cannot be torn asunder. To free themselves from neocolonial exploitation by the international monopolies, the peoples of the developing countries have no other choice than to:

1. rely on their own strength, without foregoing equal economic relations with industrial countries;

2. make the cooperation of the developing countries closer through mutual economic and political assistance;

3. pursue a joint raw-material policy on the world market towards the industrial countries; and

4. overthrow imperialist rule together with other oppressed peoples and the working class in the capitalist countries." (W. Dickhut, State-Monopoly Capitalism in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Part I, p. 358)


The editors of the Renmin Ribao seriously maintain:

"A large number of third world countries now have their own armies and in varying degrees have shed the influence of colonialism." (Renmin Ribao, "Chairman Mao's theory...," p. 42)

On page 49 of the RW 16 we show statistics of economic and military aid from the USA (Table No. 12) and explain:

"So-called aid programs are designed to make the developing countries completely dependent on the imperialist donor country. A distinction is made between economic and military aid (arms sales and arms credits)." (At this point Table 12 is shown in RW 16.)

"This includes countries that get more military aid than economic aid, such as Israel, Jordan, Venezuela, Brazil and South Korea. This military aid is only granted to developing countries taking the capitalist road. The leading military people of these countries get their training from imperialist military specialists and usually hold reactionary or fascist views; they are ready to carry out the orders of the imperialists and brutally suppress any aspirations to freedom of the people of their countries…." (W. Dickhut, State-Monopoly Capitalism in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Part I, p. 56 f.)

So there is quite a difference between reality and the assertion made by the editors of the Renmin Ribao which we quoted above. However, since the beginning of 1974, when due to their close unity in opposing the neo-colonialist intrigues of the imperialists the developing countries found the state of affairs very much in their favour, their economic situation has only worsened (with the exception of the oil-bearing countries). Their debts have become so colossal that H. Kippenberger wrote in Handelsblatt (German pro-capitalist weekly) on March 25, 1976:

"A growing number of countries, in particular developing countries, are so deep in debt that on regarding their national output and balance of payments one must already question the possibility of a regulated capital and interest service…."

But we want to take a sober look at the real situation of the developing countries and make a thorough analysis as we have done in Revolutionärer Weg, Nos. 16 and 17, and not conceal things with vague statements such as the following:

"The basic historical trend of the world today shows that it is no longer the countries and people of the third world that are afraid of imperialism and hegemonism, but imperialism and hegemonism that are afraid of the countries and people of the third world." (Renmin Ribao, "Chairman Mao's theory...," p. 45)

Phrases like these do nothing to help the people suffering under the economic and political pressure of the international monopolies and banks, but rather have the effect of dulling their vigilance as regards the intrigues of the imperialists. The editors cannot get around pointing out the social and political differences in the former colonies, the conflicts and struggles between them, without analyzing the separation of the classes and the class struggle in these countries. But they conclude:

"However, this complex situation does not affect the basic fact that the third world countries are the main force in the struggle against imperialism and hegemonism." (op. cit., p. 50)

They deny that the proletariat in the capitalist countries is the principal force in the struggle against imperialism and that with the further separation of the classes into bourgeoisie and proletariat and the development of the class struggle in the developing countries, the proletariat here, too, takes over the role of the principal force. All the while the world proletariat offers its support and the experience gathered in class struggle all over the globe. Simply to generally declare the "third world" as a complete, in itself compact entity to be the "principal force in the struggle against imperialism and hegemonism", without taking into consideration this separation of the classes and the development of the class struggle, without differentiating between reactionary and progressive elements, without observing the state of economic and political dependence, without taking into account the tactical and strategical differences in the struggle, without making a concrete analysis of every detail of the situation, all this has nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism.

The "three worlds" theorists develop their line still further and ask:

"How is it that the second world countries constitute a force which can be united with in the struggle against hegemonism?" (op. cit., p. 54)

The developed capitalist countries outside the USA and the Soviet Union and characterized as the “second world" are imperialist countries of varying size and varying economic, political and military power. The two superpowers which make up the "first world", the imperialist USA and the social-imperialist Soviet-Union, are both striving against each other for world supremacy.

According to the "three worlds" theorists the imperialist countries of the "second world" are being directly threatened by the superpowers, in particular by the Soviet Union:


"But today Soviet social-imperialism obviously represents the greatest danger to the West European countries, for Europe is the focal point in the Soviet strategy for seeking world hegemony. The Soviet Union has massed its military and naval forces in Eastern Europe and on the northern and southern European waters, which are deployed to encircle Western Europe." (op. cit., p. 55)

Europe would clearly be a desirable booty for social-imperialism, but from the economic, political and military point of view it is at least equally as important for US imperialism. Europe is a vital market for the American monopolies. In 1976 they delivered goods to Western Germany for a value of 17,550 million DM. Equally as important is the export of capital to Europe. By 1977 the American monopolies had invested more than 18 billion dollars in Western Germany alone. Her NATO commitments also give the US military ties to Europe. A war between the social-imperialist Soviet Union and the Western European countries would immediately involve the superpower USA. The social-imperialists are not so naive as to believe the USA would stay out of such a conflict.

For this reason they do not direct their aggression in the first place against Europe, it being the strongest link, but go for the weakest links such as Angola, Zaire, Somalia, Ethiopia and other countries. After the USA the social-imperialists have become the largest supplier of arms and in this way manage to bring quite a few countries under their control.

8. The "Theory of the Three Worlds" and the Question Concerning the "Defence of the Fatherland"

In connection with the greedy and aggressive policies of the superpowers the “three worlds" theorists bring into their strategic concept the question of the "defence of the fatherland":

"Since the Soviet Union regards Europe as the strategic focal point, countries in both Eastern and Western Europe will have to bear the brunt of its attack. They face a grave problem of safeguarding their national independence.

Is it correct in principle today to put forward the slogan of defending national independence in such developed countries as those of the second world, particularly of Europe?" (op. cit., p. 63; emphasis ours)

They refer to the classical teachings of Marxism-Leninism, which is totally unjustifiable since the latter differentiate between national and imperialist wars. Renmin Ribao quotes Engels as well as a few isolated sentences from the article Lenin wrote in July 1916 on the 'Junius Pamphlet', and thereby attempt to prove the necessity of "defence of the fatherland", should social-imperialist forces attack the imperialist countries of Western Europe. Renmin Ribao conceals the fact that Lenin was alluding to the Habsburg monarchy, which oppressed the national groupings within its territories, that the Balkan countries had arisen out of the disintegration of the Turkish empire a few years previously and that for these reasons national wars in Europe had become possible.

Why don't they quote Lenin's opinion on "defence of the fatherland" from the very same controversy over 'Junius'? Why do they conceal Lenin's fundamental views on the subject?

"Another fallacious argument is advanced by Junius on the question of defence of the fatherland. This is a cardinal political question during an imperialist war. Junius has strengthened us in our conviction that our Party has indicated the only correct approach to this question; the proletariat is opposed to the defence of the fatherland in this imperialist war because of its predatory slave-driving, reactionary character, because it is possible and necessary to oppose to it (and to strive to convert it into) civil war for socialism. Junius, however, while brilliantly exposing the imperialist character of the present war as distinct from a national war, makes the very strange mistake of trying to drag a national programme into the present, non-national war. It sounds almost incredible, but there it is." (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 313)


What would be the nature of a war between the imperialist Soviet Union and the imperialist countries of Western Europe (and most certainly the USA)? An imperialist war or a national war? Whoever should doubt the imperialist nature of such a war has either never really understood Marxism-Leninism or wants to revise it.

At this point we would like to recall the fact that already in 1975 the KPD/ML and the “KPD" had taken up a petit-bourgeois position and that the latter has stuck to it. It must be heard to be believed: Ernst Aust (Chairman of the KPD/ML) declared in his speech in Kiel:

"Should Western Germany be dragged into a war between the two superpowers, this would be for us workers from the very beginning an antifascist, anti-imperialist war of liberation…." (Roter Morgen, No. 14/1975, p. 4 - party paper of the KPD/ML)

"In no way can an imperialist army be allowed to take over the defence of our country and the protection of our people against enslavement at the hands of one of the two superpowers. This must be the task of the people itself." (op. cit., p. 6)

"And what if we are not able to prevent the outbreak of a third world war? Then we shall defend our fatherland!" (Rote Garde, No. 1, youth supplement to Roter Morgen, No. 16/1975)


In the meantime the KPD/ML has corrected its standpoint in this question. The "KPD" had also taken up the cry for "defence of the fatherland", only in a more unambiguous and opportunist manner than the KPD/ML. Just listen to their social-chauvinist prattle:

"But if we examine the present situation, we come to the conclusion that the danger of one of the superpowers attacking a second world state is still greater. We must make preparations for such an event. We must spread the idea of a just war of defence and that of absolute solidarity with the peoples, states and nations of the third world." (Rote Fahne, No. 15/1975 - party paper of the "KPD")

"In the case of an act of aggression on the part of one of the superpowers, both German states would be faced with the question of a national struggle for liberation." (Rote Fahne, No. 16/1975)

"Should the bourgeoisie be forced to submit to the war plans of one of the superpowers, a national war of defence is only then possible when the bourgeoisie has been overthrown and can no longer determine the course of the war. Should the bourgeoisie follow a course of independence, one of struggle against the aggressors, then it is taking part in a just war. From the people's point of view it is always 'just' to beat off an act of aggression by the superpowers." (Rote Fahne, No. 17/1975)

"It is our opinion that first of all the working class and the masses of our people must be prepared to take over the leading role in a national war of defence. For no matter how the bourgeoisie should react in the face of a conflict sparked off by one of the superpowers, the working class will carry the greater burden in a people's war of national liberation." (Rote Fahne, No. 26/1975)

"The defensive capacity of the Western European countries must be strengthened, for only if they become independent from U.S. troops can they prevent Europe from becoming the battlefield on which the two superpowers engage in armed conflict. As long as this independence is not sufficiently secured, one cannot seriously desire the withdrawal of U.S. troops out of Europe. This would be to walk into the open arms of social-imperialism." (Rote Fahne, No. 23/1975)


For this very reason the "KPD" called for the strengthening of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces. No further comment! But returning to the "strategic concept" of the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, we can see that the views passed on at that time to a few Marxist-Leninist groups have today become the official right-wing opportunist line.


"Many European countries are once again faced with the question of safeguarding their national independence, and the working class in Europe is once again faced with the question of maintaining the positions and the prospective opportunities already gained. In present-day Europe, national wars against large-scale aggression, enslavement and slaughter by a superpower are not only possible and probable; they are inevitable, progressive and revolutionary." (Renmin Ribao, "Chairman Mao's Theory...,"p. 62/63)

It is nothing but wicked derision of socialist theory when they attempt to sell their opportunism as Marxism-Leninism:

"Marxism-Leninism has always stressed the enormous significance of winning over the middle forces in the fight against the enemy. Efforts by the third world to establish varying degrees of unity with the second world countries will deal a direct blow to the policies of aggression, expansion and war of the two hegemonist powers, and especially of Soviet social-imperialism." (op. cit., p. 63)

This opportunist line is then said to originate from Mao Tse-tung, which is a disgraceful forgery of Mao Tse-tung Thought.


"As time passes, this main trend increasingly testifies to the correctness of Chairman Mao's theory of the differentiation of the three worlds and to its power as the guiding concept for the international proletariat and the people of the world in building the broadest possible international united front against hegemonism." (op. cit., p. 74)

Anyone who is somewhat acquainted with Mao Tse-tung Thought from his writings, which represent an outstanding development of Marxism-Leninism, must be enraged by such insinuations.

9. The Debate within the International Marxist-Leninist Movement.

It was the Albanian Party of Labour which first criticized the strategic conception of the "theory of the three worlds", although they neglected to name the culprits. The article in the party paper Zeri i Popullit of July 7, 1977, entitled "The Theory and Practice of Revolution", mentions neither the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party nor even China itself. In our opinion criticism and self-criticism is the criteria of the further development of a revolutionary workers' party, and must be candid, sincere and objective. In our theoretical organ Revolutionärer Weg, No. 10, entitled "Some Basic Issues of Party Building," we wrote:

"Dialectical criticism and self-criticism are always principle-based. Unprincipled criticism and self-criticism are metaphysical, tend to exaggeration and extravagant praise, concealing shortcomings and mistakes. Unprincipled criticism and self-criticism lead to one-sided assessment which precisely diverts from the core of the matter. Unprincipled criticism spares leading persons because they are considered 'inviolable authorities'. Another feature of unprincipled criticism is the lack of ideas which conclusively leads to separation of theory from practice. Unprincipled criticism is negative criticism which ignores what is positive by showcasing small deficiencies or mistakes and does not mention the principal aspect, the correct and positive things, but rather gives a generally devastating judgment." (The Struggle Over the Proletarian Line – Some Basic Issues of Party Building, Omnibus Edition, p. 256)

Similarly the editors of the Renmin Ribao make no mention of the Albanian Party of Labour or the groups close to her.

Zeri i Popullit makes no difference between the expressions "third world" and "developing countries". It is quite correct to reject the expression "third world" as it implies a particular united bloc as opposed to another rival bloc, the "second world". The expression "third world" offers no information as to the economic or political nature of the countries concerned, unlike the expression used earlier, "colonies". For colonies were underdeveloped dependent countries, oppressed and exploited by the imperialist "mother countries". It is necessary to have a suitable expression to define the countries which were once colonies and which may well have gained official independence but are not yet economically and politically independent. For the following reasons we have stuck to the expression "developing country" and give our reasons in Revolutionärer Weg, No 16, p. 41:

"Though they have struggled successfully for national liberation, these peoples have by no means won their complete independence. The former colonial and semicolonial countries are formally, i.e. legally, independent, but economically and politically they are more or less dependent. To win economic independence these countries must emerge from colonial backwardness. That means that these countries must develop their own economic base as quickly as possible. The construction and development of an independent national economy is a vital matter for the peoples of the former colonies. To that extent they are developing countries, regardless of the road they have taken, the socialist or the capitalist." (W. Dickhut, State-Monopoly Capitalism in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Part I, p. 48)

It is also our opinion that the whole affair is being handled too abstractly by the Marxist-Leninist groups close to the Albanian Party of Labour. This is illustrated by the "joint declaration" of five Marxist-Leninist groups as well as by the "greetings-address of the central committee of the KPD/ML" which appeared in Roter Morgen, No. 1/78. In this so-called "greetings-address" they wrote among other things:

"The struggle against the new international opportunist trend and its so-called 'theory of the three worlds' was of great importance in the past year both for our party and also the entire Communist world movement. The struggle against this new variety of modern revisionism is above all complicated and difficult because the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party make up the core of this counter-revolutionary movement…. Now and again our Party supported and justified certain aspects of this counter-revolutionary line or in some cases we said nothing, even though it betrayed and betrays the interests of the German working class and the German people. We now realize self-critically that that was a serious opportunist mistake….

For some time now the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party have been trying by every means to force this revisionist 'theory' on other revolutionary parties as a strategic general line. The Chinese leaders tried to put pressure on various revolutionary parties or to split them by forming oppositional groups within them, because they refused to accept revisionist views….

For some time now our party has been leading a rigorous struggle against this counter-revolutionary line….

Finally we have summed up our criticism of various aspects of the policies of the Chinese leaders in an internal letter and have sent it to the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party refused to accept this letter and returned it open through the bourgeois postal system. This is indeed a hostile and chauvinist behaviour towards fellow Communists.

The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party reject every sincere attempt to discuss these questions. There is no other way for ourselves and other revolutionary parties to convince them of the revisionist nature of their views and to urge them to return to the principles of Marxism-Leninism. For this reason Marxist-Leninists must treat them as counter-revolutionaries and must fight against them."

This is all very abstract, exaggerated and subjective. It sounds as if they were annoyed about their unanswered letter to the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
There is no doubt about the right-wing opportunist nature of the "three worlds theory" as a "strategic conception", intended to a certain extent as a general line for the entire Marxist-Leninist movement. But we refuse to call it counter-revolutionary. We still hope that the members of the Chinese Communist Party, tested through years of class struggle, will see through the right-wing opportunist line developed by Teng Hsiao-ping, and then reject it and fight against it. In order to do this, a thorough analysis is necessary.

But let us also look at the supporters and defenders of the opportunist "three worlds theory", the "KPD". The "students' KPD" is the most determined advocate of the "three worlds theory". The same "KPD" which declared not so long ago in an uncontested sectarian manner that the socialist revolution in Western Germany was a parole of the day, has now come to the following "point of view" and with the aid of the "three worlds theory" to the following remarkable chance of course:

"We have put an end to the sectarian mistake which makes the recognition of the necessity of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat to a condition for the proletarian united front. Our present standpoint is such that we believe that on the basis of this united front the German working class will develop its strength and initiative and will lead the people and the nation in the struggle against the two superpowers, in particular against Soviet social-imperialism, and against the ruling bourgeois classes in East and West, to finally fulfil its histone mission by carrying out the proletarian revolution." (Rote Fahne, No. 36/1977 – "On work in the trade unions and the proletarian united front in Western Germany")

"The ideological struggle must also be aimed on those 'left'-wing opportunist views which under the present conditions direct their blows for the most part against West German imperialism and thereby walk into the open arms of the social-imperialists. On the other hand we must advocate the military training of the masses and spread the idea of a just war for national liberation." (op. cit., "On the present situation and the tasks of the KPD")

As we can see the supporters of the "three worlds theory" advocate to this day the defence of the fatherland. But they do not wish to show too openly their concept for sparing German imperialism in favour of the struggle against the superpowers.

Over and over again the "KPD" leaders stress that they have by no means given up the irreconcilable struggle against German monopoly capitalist. However, the following quotation makes it clear that it is merely a question of tactics for them:

"On the foundations of this line of the proletarian united front we shall succeed in reducing the influence of the modem revisionists in the trade unions and unite with the broad masses of the members. Depending on the existing conditions the one or the other aspect of the united front policy will be more important when applying this line. As the contradictions in the world come to a head, especially in our own country and Europe, the working class will more and more take up the entire principle of the united front." (op. cit., "On work in the trade unions...")

In their eyes the main enemy for the German working class is not the bourgeoisie in our own country. The proof is provided by the "three worlds theory", which according to the “KPD" proclaims:

“No nation of the second world is in a position to make serious claims on a new division of the world in its own favour or on world power itself, nor are the nations of the second world in a position where they can spark off a war for these interests without or against the will of the superpowers." (op. cit., "On the military-political tasks of the KPD")


That is a complete underestimation of German imperialism and dangerously plays down its particularly aggressive nature, through which it sparked off two world wars. At present we must differentiate between the two superpowers as "primary" imperialism and the other monopoly capitalist countries, large and small, as "secondary" imperialism. In the shadow of primary imperialism the secondary imperialists, to which Western Germany momentarily also belongs, are trying to assert their state monopolist aims, that is to achieve maximum profits and exploit the developing countries by means of neo-colonialist policies. But who can say if the balance of power will remain the same?

The larger secondary imperialists are also striving higher and higher, and, according to the laws of the uneven development of capital, larger secondary imperialists such as Western Germany and Japan are trying to elbow their way into the ranks of the primary imperialist countries. It simply cannot be denied that German imperialism aims at developing its own independent imperialist policies. The nuclear contract between Western Germany and Brazil shows that Western Germany very much intends to have a say in the struggle for new markets and raw materials even against the interests of the superpowers. The same applies to the bitter resistance put up by the West German government against the economic demands of the U.S. government, demands which would have been to West Germany's disadvantage.

In the opinion of the "KPD" leaders the main task is the struggle against the superpowers, in particular against the Soviet Union.

"Let us combine a high degree of principle in the basics of our trade union policies with the widest possible flexibility and also in the concrete tactics of the united front. Let us set every possible factor in motion in order to isolate modem revisionism and every other bourgeois tendency in the workers' and trade union movement, and to make progress in the welding of the proletarian united front, so that the working class is enabled to put its maximum collective forces into the struggle against the superpowers, in particular against Soviet social-imperialism and the ruling bourgeois forces in East and West!" (op. cit., "On work in the trade unions...")

As far as the struggle against German imperialism is concerned, it is more a question of "flexibility" for the "KPD" and not a matter of principles. Thereby they are themselves so flexible that they fall into hopeless confusion and arrive at the following strategy:

The "KPD" criticizes the German monopolist bourgeoisie in the first place because of its compliant attitude toward the superpowers. In her anxiety for the unity of the capitalist class, the "KPD" defends itself with the following statement:


"The government in Bonn still belongs to those forces that follow a course of dependence on American atomic weapons and subordination to American military doctrine while at the same time seeing no alternative to the policy of detente. Likewise there exist differences of opinion within the West German monopolist bourgeoisie over this line, but at the moment no movement worth mentioning, which would oppose this course with a decisive alternative." (op. cit., "On the military-political tasks...")

Further the "KPD" "criticizes" the bourgeoisie because of its hostile attitude towards the people:

"In their hatred and fear of the masses they have set about weakening general military service in favour of specialized professionalized units and thereby undermine the fighting potential of the conscript soldiers…."


So here the "KPD" is in favour of quite a different kind of "defence of the fatherland". They want a strong national army on the basis of general military service. But the army and the police are the most important supporting factors in the preservation of capitalist rule. They are instruments for acts of aggression abroad and oppression at home. Both sides are part of one entity and cannot be "reformed away" in capitalism.

The "KPD" however sees things differently. From the standpoint of a "national war" of Western Germany against the social-imperialist Soviet Union and in the interests of "defence of the fatherland", the "KPD" has the following opinion:

"In view of the important role that military struggle will play in our revolution, it is absolutely vital to direct the attention of the entire party, the class-conscious workers and the progressive parts of the people to the military question more than it has been done until now. We must thoroughly develop our studies of both Marxist-Leninist and bourgeois military theory, strategy and tactics, as well as the experiences from military struggles of the proletariat and the masses in our country and the whole world over. We must demand everything both within the army and outside it which serves the physical and military training of the people's masses as a preparation for the outbreak of war. It is to be welcomed and not condemned when the bourgeoisie draws more and more parts of the people into military training, for in this way it supplies the people with the knowledge and abilities with which they will overthrow the bourgeoisie.

We shall decidedly oppose all plans to build up a professional army and work for an all-round military training for the people, especially with those weapons and in those abilities needed to carry out a people's war."


To round it all off the leaders of the "KPD" arrive at the following climax:

"With their platform and their demands the Communists must take an active part in foreign affairs and national defence."

How do they want to achieve this? Together with the bourgeoisie in an "anti-hegemonistic alliance"? If they were consistent, the "KPD" would have to use the Bundestag, the federal parliament, as the rostrum for their alliance and openly advocate the parliamentary course as the way to building up the united front. We would not be surprised!

Of course they will deny this indignantly, but this cannot change the fact that with the aid and justification offered by the "three worlds theory" the "KPD" is leading the German working class astray. This is not even changed by such bombastic statements as

"only by overthrowing the bourgeoisie in both parts of Germany and by driving both superpowers from German soil can we achieve the aim of an independent, united and socialist Germany, The way to the proletarian revolution in our country unavoidably includes the struggle to drive out the two superpowers." (op. cit., "On the military-political tasks...")

These are merely revolutionary sounding words which serve to conceal the course of "defence of the fatherland" and the support for the preparation of military aggression on the part of the West German monopolies. The "KPD" is an example of the hopeless confusion caused by the "three worlds theory" as a strategic concept.

The course advocated by the "KPD" has nothing to do with Communist politics but is at best abysmal opportunism. Their course of "defence of the fatherland" is a defence of the bourgeoisie and in the interests of German monopoly-capitalism. In a speech at the Second Congress of the Communist International Lenin said of such opportunists:

"Opportunism in the upper ranks of the working class movement is bourgeois socialism, not proletarian socialism. It has been shown in practice that working class activists who follow the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeoisie themselves." (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 31, p. 231)