About the text:
From: The Young Communist, undated duplicate [ca. August 1970].
Translated from the Danish “Ungkommunisten”, Vol 3, no. 6 August 1970.
To answer the question of why we support PFLP is the same thing as telling who we are.
“We” are Communist Working Circle, formed in 1963, and Communist Youth League, formed in 1968 at the initiative of CWC.
We are living and working in a country, where you may get, anyone to say that he or she is willing to “sacrifice their lives for the revolution”. However, things in this part of the world are such, that no one has any chance to sacrifice their lives. On the other hand they have the chance to “sacrifice” a day off mimeographing a leaflet – and it is much more difficult to make people do that. Some people left CWC during the first couple of years, precisely because they were willing to “give their lives” for socialist revolution, but were not willing to leave their cosy homes to do some practical work.
Other people left the group – but new ones joined us, later on they formed the nucleus of CYL – when we left the “easy” purely, theoretical problems of the need for the proletarian revolution versus peaceful transition etc. They left us when we turned to our own country of today, our own working class, our own capitalism, the perspectives for our own socialist revolution.
We began to study the social reasons, why not only Denmark but the whole of the fully developed, capitalist western world has remained capitalist to this day. We began to study the policy of the old communist parties before, during and after World War II. We began in good earnest to study the two aspects of the basic class contradiction, in capitalist society – the capitalist class and the working class. We discarded all old “abstract definitions” opened our eyes wide and began to take our starting point in a concrete analysis of concrete facts.
What did we find? In short, we found that the enormous profits brought home over decades by the imperialist countries from colonies and dependent countries had been used, among other things, to bribe the working class of these imperialist countries. F. Engels wrote in the latter half of the 19th century that the English workers were gladly taking their share of the colonial booty, and that that was the reason why there was no socialist movement in England at the time. We found that today this holds good not only for England, but basically for all fully developed capitalist countries in Western Europe. After World War I Lenin wrote that part of the working class of the Western countries were building a paradise – together with the capitalist class on the back of the majority of mankind in the colonial countries. We found that today it is not a small stratum, but the working class as a whole, which is building and living in this paradise. And that is the reason why there is still no socialist movement in the imperialist countries – and has not been for decades.
Having gone so far, we started a renewed study of the classics of Marxism. And we found that in 1869 Marx declared that England, economically speaking, was ripe for socialist revolution, but that this revolution would not come, until the Irish people had freed themselves of the English rule. In contemporary capitalist countries we have to a much higher degree than England in 1869, the social production – large-scale industry, division of labour – which makes our countries ripe for socialism, but the revolution will not come, until those peoples, whom the imperialist countries are exploiting, and on whom they are parasites, have fought their way out of imperialist domination and rule.
We tried to live up to Lenin’s words to the effect that it is the task of communists of the West to seek, find and correct determine the turn of events, the specific development which will lead the masses to revolutionary struggle. We have followed Mao Tse-tung’s words of always seeking out and determining the principal contradiction in any given complicated social proces of development – that principal contradiction which decides and influences all the others.
When, today, you take the world as one single whole, you will discover that the principal contradiction today in the complicated process of development of this world is the contradiction between imperialism as a whole and the countries exploited by neo-colonialist methods.
This is the principal contradiction, deciding and influencing all other social contradictions – the contradiction between imperialism and those countries still exploited in the old colonial way, the contradictions among the imperialist powers themselves, the contradictions between individual imperialist countries and individual neo-colonial countries etc. etc.
This principal contradiction in the present process of development of the world also influences contradictions inside individual countries. It influences the contradiction between capitalist class and working class in the imperialist countries – the profits from exploitation abroad weakens class contradiction at home, with the result that today class struggle has ceased altogether in these countries (class struggle in the sense of struggle for power) – already Lenin noted that export of capital weakens class antagonism in the country exporting this capital!
The principal contradiction also influences contradictions in the individual countries, which used to be colonies or dependencies, and which are now formally independent, but exploited in a neo-colonialist way. In these countries it gives rise to a hitherto unknown development of productive forces, it creates a new working class and new contradictions between this working class and the poverty-stricken peasant majority.
For us in small imperialist Denmark and in the fully developed capitalist world as a whole the result is that the struggle between imperialism and the peoples fighting against neo-colonialism and the victory of the peoples over imperialism is the decisive factor, the very “specific development” mentioned by Lenin, which will lead the masses of our countries to revolution. Any weakening of neo-colonial exploitation, any weakening of neo-colonial grip on the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America means a weakening of imperialism, and will tend to revive class antagonisms and class, struggle in our imperialist countries.
Wanting to work for socialist revolution in our own country, we find it our main duty, therefore to tell people about this principal contradiction, to prepare our working class for the inevitable outcome of the struggle between the two aspects of this contradiction – and first and foremost to support the struggle waged against neo-colonialism, against imperialism of today.
As we see it, the so-called “State of Israel” is a product of old-time colonialism, established by means of old-time colonial methods, while at the same time today this “State of Israel” serves neo-colonialist purposes for imperialism, above all US imperialism. This fact makes the struggle of the Palestinian people and of the Arab people against this zionist state especially acute, and it decides its special character and our special obligation to support it.
As was painted out by Lenin, and as was repeated by Mao Tse-tung, there was a time when seen on a world scale all national liberation movements were a part of the proletarian world revolution. We can no longer confine ourselves to this description, which has become today an “abstract definition”, because no longer does it conform to facts.
Since World War II we have seen a number of national liberation movements come out victorious, have we not? The foreign colonial masters have been thrown out, and their apparatus of power abolished – but did that lead to any weakening of imperialism? Did it further proletarian world revolution? It did nothing of the kind!
Today it does not suffice, therefore, to say that revolutionaries in the imperialist countries must support national liberation movements regardless of the class, which in any given country is at the head of the national liberation movement.
If under the leadership of a petty-bourgeois class the national liberation movement results in the creation of an independent state with a flag and a national anthem of its own, political institutions and armed forces of its own – but n o t result in a weaking of imperialism, can we support it? If such a national liberation struggle is resulting in neo-colonial exploitation of the country in question – and for a time such a development will strengthen imperialism – can we support it? We can support it, yes, we must support it, yes but not unreservedly. We must also criticize it. And if at one and the same time there exists another movement, in the same country, in the same part of the world, which strives to give proletarian leadership to the national liberation movement, which will not stop revolution halfways, but which has set out to mobilise the working class, the working people to fight imperialism the whole way then there can be no doubt as to whom we must support – in the interest of socialist revolution also in our own country!
In the struggle of the Arab peoples against imperialism, zionism and Arabian reaction we are therefore unreservedly supporting PFLP. Whom else should we support?
Gotfred Appel, Chairman of CWC.
Om forfatteren / About the Writer
Gotfred Appel, Formand og ideologisk leder af Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds fra 1964 til splittelsen i 1978. Gotfred Appel fortsatte sammen med Ulla Houton under navnet Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds, KAK.
Gotfred Appel, Chairperson and ideological leader of the Danish Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds, KAK (Communist Working Circle, CWC) from 1964 till the splitt in 1978. Gotfred Appel continuned with Ulla Houton as Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds, KAK.