The history of capitalism is the history of the aggravation of its main contradiction - the contradiction between the social nature of production and the private capitalist form of appropriation, of the growing exploitation of the working class and all working people, of the aggravation of the struggle between labour and capital, the oppressed and the oppressors, of economic crises, socio-political upheavals, wars of conquest and conflicts bringing endless hardships to working people.
Early in the 20th century the process of the concentration and centralisation of capital resulted in the emergence of powerful capitalist monopoly associations that seized the main levers in the whole of economic and political life. Capitalism entered its highest and last stage - the stage of imperialism. In the words of Lenin, "capitalism in its imperialist stage has turned into the greatest oppressor of nations," the primary source of wars of aggression.
The material conditions for replacing capitalist production relations by socialist ones took shape and the objective and subjective prerequisites for a victorious socialist revolution mature at the stage of imperialism. History has entrusted the working class with the mission of the revolutionary transformation of the old society and the creation of the new one. In fulfilling this mission the working class serves not just its own class interests, but those of all working people.
Aggravated by tsarist oppression and the vestiges of serfdom, imperialism's contradictions manifested themselves in Russia with exceptional force. Russia turned out to be the weakest link of world imperialism, the focal point of its contradictions. It was to Russia that the centre of the world revolutionary movement shifted, and the Russian proletariat faced the most difficult and important task of being the first to break the chain of the bourgeoisie's world domination. This could be done only under the leadership of a party of a new type - a fighting revolutionary organisation of the proletariat.
The formation of the Bolshevik Party became the turning point in the history of the Russian and international working-class movement. This was an expression of an objective requirement of social development, of the proletariat's class struggle, the fruit of scientific foresight, a result of the untiring political and organisational activity of Lenin and the Marxists who had rallied round him. Lenin's ardent call "Give us an organisation of revolutionaries and we will overturn Russia" found fervent response in the hearts and minds of workers, the progressive-minded people in Russian society, the best representatives of the working people. Lenin worked out the ideological, political and organisational principles of the Party, and the methods for its work among the masses. The party of the new type was being formed and growing stronger in the course of implacable clashes with revisionism, right-wing opportunism, dogmatism and leftist adventurism.
The revolution of 1905-l907, the first people's revolution of the imperialist epoch, showed the strength of the working class and was a prologue to the proletariats coming victories. The bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917 eliminated tsarism, but it did not deliver the popular masses from social and national oppression, from the hardships of imperialist war, nor did it resolve the contradictions that were tearing Russian society apart. Socialist revolution became an urgent demand of the times.
The working class of Russia was known for its fervent revolutionary spirit and high level of organisation. It was led by the Bolshevik Party, steeled in political battles and armed with progressive revolutionary theory. Lenin gave it a clear perspective of struggle by evolving the theory that a victorious proletarian revolution in conditions of imperialism was possible initially in one or several countries.
At the call of the Bolshevik Party and under its leadership the working class began a decisive battle against the power of capital. The Party brought together into one powerful stream the proletarian struggle for socialism, the peasants' struggle for land, the national liberation struggle of Russia's oppressed peoples, and the nationwide movement against imperialist war and for peace, and directed that stream towards overthrowing the bourgeois system.
The Great October Socialist Revolution became a landmark in world history, determined the general direction and main trends of world development, and initiated the irreversible process of the replacement of capitalism by the new communist socio-economic formation.
A state with the dictatorship of the proletariat emerged and became established for the first time in history. Rallying together all working people, the working class set about resolving the most complex problems of the period of transition from capitalism to socialism, and creating the foundations of the new society.
The winning of political power, victories on the Civil War fronts, the rout of foreign military interventionists, and prospects for building a new life generated a powerful upsurge of strength and revolutionary energy among the working people. They overcame the privations and difficulties caused by economic dislocation, the counterrevolutionary plots and sabotage by the bourgeoisie, and the country's technical, economic and cultural backwardness. In the transition period, the class struggle at times took the form of bitter clashes. The Soviet Union was subjected to fierce attacks by the hostile capitalist encirclement, to numerous military and political provocations.
Relying on the enthusiasm of the masses, repulsing the attacks by right-wing and leftist opportunists, and strengthening its ideological, political and national unity, the Party undeviatingly pursued the Leninist general line aimed at building socialism.
The basic means of production passed into the hands of the people. The nationalisation of land, factories, plants and banks ensured the preconditions necessary for asserting and developing socialist ownership and organising a system of planned economy. Industrialisation turned the Soviet Union into a powerful industrial state. Collectivisation of agriculture was a breakthrough in economic relations, in the entire life of the peasantry. The alliance of the working class and the peasantry was placed on a solid socio-economic foundation. As a result of the cultural revolution, illiteracy was stamped out, broad vistas were opened for the development of creative forces and the intellectual flourishing of the working man, a socialist intelligentsia emerged, and Marxist-Leninist ideology became dominant in the minds of the Soviet people.
The solution of the nationalities question is an outstanding accomplishment of socialism. The victory of the October Revolution forever put an end to national oppression and inequality among nations and ethnic groups. A tremendous role was played here by the voluntary unification of the free and equal peoples in a single multinational state - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In the course of building socialism rapid economic, social and cultural progress of the former national outlands was ensured. Ethnic conflicts became a thing of the past, and fraternal friendship, close cooperation and mutual assistance of all peoples of the USSR became a way of life.
All this signified that a social transformation of worldwide historic importance had been accomplished - the age old dominance of private ownership was eliminated and exploitation of man by man abolished forever. Socio-political and ideological unity of Soviet society took shape on the basis of the common interests of the working class, the collective farmers, people's intelligentsia, and the working people of all nationalities. The working man became the full master of the country. A socialist society in the USSR was essentially built.
The Great Patriotic War was a severe trial for the new system. The Soviet people and its armed forces rallied round the Party and, displaying unprecedented heroism, inflicted a crushing defeat on German fascism - the strike force of world imperialist reaction. By its victory the Soviet Union made the decisive contribution to the liberation of European peoples from Nazi slavery, to saving world civilisation. The rout of Nazi Germany and militarist Japan opened up new possibilities for peoples' struggle for peace, democracy, national liberation and socialism. The Soviet people's victory raised high the Soviet state's international prestige.
Within a short period the USSR healed the deep wounds of war, considerably strengthened its economic, scientific, technological and defence potential, and consolidated its position internationally. The victory of socialism in our country was final and complete.
In its economic, socio-political and cultural development, Soviet society, relying on its achievements, continued to advance confidently. An integral national economic complex took shape in the country. Large new areas in the North and East of the country were developed, and nature management became more efficient. National income and productivity of social labour grew considerably. The level of the people's well-being was raised substantially and a huge housing construction program was carried out. The people's cultural wealth increased, the transition to universal secondary education was completed, and Soviet science and technology achieved outstanding successes. The Soviet Union built the first atomic power station and the first atomic-powered icebreaker; it also launched the first artificial satellite of the Earth and the first manned spaceship.
The socialist social relations gained in strength, a new social and international community - the Soviet people - emerged. The state with the dictatorship of the proletariat grew into a socialist state of all people.
Displaying Bolshevist fidelity to principle and a self-critical approach, and relying on the support of the masses, the Party did a great deal to eliminate the consequences of the personality cult, deviations from the Leninist norms of party and state guidance, and to rectify errors of a subjectivist, voluntaristic nature. Soviet democracy was further developed and socialist legality consolidated.
The Soviet people's persistent work, great achievements in the economic, social and political spheres, science and culture have brought our country to new historical frontiers that marked the beginning of the stage of developed socialism.
The establishment of military-strategic parity between the USSR and the USA, between the Warsaw Treaty Organisation and NATO was a historic accomplishment of socialism. It strengthened the positions of the USSR, the countries of socialism and all progressive forces, and dashed the hopes cherished by aggressive imperialist circles of winning a world nuclear war. Preservation of this balance is vital for ensuring peace and international security.
The experience of the USSR and other socialist countries convincingly demonstrates the indisputable socio-economic, political, ideological and moral advantages of the new society as a stage in mankind's progress that is superior to capitalism, and provides answers to questions that the bourgeois system is incapable of solving.
Socialism is a society on whose banner are inscribed the words "Everything for the sake of man, everything for the benefit of man." It is a society in which:
- the means of production are in the hands of the people, an end has been put forever to exploitation of man by man, social oppression, the rule of a privileged minority, and the poverty and illiteracy of millions of people;
- the broadest vistas have been opened for the dynamic and planned development of productive forces, and scientific and technological progress brings not unemployment but a steady growth in the well-being of the entire people;
- the equal right to work and pay in conformity with the principle "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work" is ensured, and the population enjoys such social benefits as free medical service and education, and housing with a minimum rent;
- the inviolable alliance of the working class, the collective farmers and the intelligentsia has been affirmed, men and women have equal rights and guarantees for exercising them, the young generation is offered a reliable road into the future, and social security for veterans of labour is guaranteed;
- national inequality is abolished, the juridical and factual equality, friendship and brotherhood of all peoples and nationalities are established;
- genuine democracy - power exercised for the people and by the people - has been established and is developing, and broad and equal participation of citizens in the management of production, public and state affairs is ensured;
- the ideas of freedom, human rights and dignity of the individual are filled with real content, unity of rights and duties is ensured, uniform laws and norms of morality and a single discipline apply to each and all, and increasingly favourable conditions are taking shape for the all-round development of the individual;
- the truly humanistic Marxist-Leninist ideology is dominant, the popular masses have access to all sources of knowledge, and an advanced socialist culture has been created which absorbs all that is best in world culture;
- a socialist way of life which gives working people confidence in the future, spiritually and morally elevates them as creators of new social relations and of their own destiny has taken shape on the basis of social justice, collectivism and comradely mutual assistance.
Socialism is a society whose deeds and intentions in the international arena are directed towards supporting the peoples' striving for independence and social progress, and are subordinated to the main task of preserving and consolidating peace.
At the new stage of historical development our Party and the Soviet people are faced with the task in all its magnitude of the all-round perfection of socialist society and a fuller and more effective utilisation of its possibilities and advantages for further advance towards communism.
After the rout of German fascism and Japanese militarism the worldwide historical process of social liberation, which began with the Great October Revolution, was marked by the overthrow of the power of exploiters in several countries in Europe and Asia and then America. Socialism, which first became a reality in our country, has turned into a world system. The Marxist-Leninist theory of building the new society has been verified in practice on an international scale, socialism has asserted itself on vast expanses of the earth, and hundreds of millions of people are following the road of creating a communist civilisation. More and more nations are losing their confidence in capitalism; they do not wish to associate their prospects of development with it and are persistently searching for and finding ways of socialist transformation of their countries.
The successes of socialism are all the more impressive because they have been achieved within very short time spans, in conditions of imperialism's unceasing pressure - from economic pressure and ideological subversion to direct attempts to stage counterrevolutionary coups and launch military aggression.
The experience accumulated in socialist countries is of lasting significance. The past decades have enriched the practice of the building of socialism and clearly demonstrated the diversity of the world of socialism. At the same time the experience of these decades shows the inmense importance of the general laws of socialism, such as: the power of working people, with the working class playing the leading role; guidance of society's development by the Communist Party armed with the ideology of scientific socialism; establishment of social ownership of the basic means of production and on this basis the planned growth of the economy in the interests of the people; implementation of the principle "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work"; development of socialist democracy; equality and friendship of all nations and nationalities; and defence of revolutionary gains from encroachments by class enemies.
The use of the general laws in the specific conditions of each of the socialist countries forms the basis of their confident advance, the overcoming of the growing pains and the resolving in good time of contradictions that arise; it is a real contribution of the ruling Communist parties to the general process of socialist development.
Socialism has brought forth a new, previously unknown type of international relations, which are developing between socialist states. Their firm foundation consists of a uniform socio-economic and political system; Marxist-Leninist ideology; class solidarity; friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance in carrying out tasks of building and defending the new society; the struggle for peace, international security, social progress; and equality and respect for the independence and sovereignty of each state.
Relations of socialist internationalism have been most fully embodied in the socialist community. The countries belonging to the community - member states of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Treaty Organisation - are united by common fundamental interests and aims and by ties of extensive multifaceted cooperation, and coordinate their actions in international affairs. History has not known such a community of countries in which no one country has or can have special rights and privileges, in which international relations have really become relations between peoples, and in which fruitful ties at various levels have taken shape and are developing - from the highest level of Party and state leadership to work collectives. The community multiplies the strength of the fraternal states in the building of socialism and helps reliably to ensure their security.
The objective requirement of the socialist countries' drawing ever closer together stems from the very essence of socialism. Whereas in the capitalist world the law of uneven economic, socio-political and cultural development operates, and strong countries enrich themselves by plundering weak ones and prolong in every way the backwardness of the latter, socialism creates the necessary conditions for raising the less developed countries to the level of the developed ones. The higher and the more similar the levels of social development of socialist countries, the richer and deeper their cooperation, the more organic the process of their drawing together.
The establishment of the world socialist system, the formation and strengthening of the socialist community have brought about a fundamental change in the alignment of forces in the international arena in favour of the peoples fighting for social progress, democracy, national freedom and peace. The socialist community is the most authoritative force of our time and without it no issue in world politics can be solved; it is a firm bulwark of peace on earth, the most consistent champion of sound peaceful, democratic principles in international relations, the main force opposing imperialist reaction.
The young, forward-looking world of socialism is opposed by the exploiter world of capitalism which is still strong and dangerous, but which has already passed its peak. The general crisis of capitalism is deepening. The sphere of its domination is shrinking inevitably, its historical doom becoming ever more obvious.
Modern capitalism differs in many ways from what it was at the beginning and even in the middle of the 20th century. In conditions of state monopoly capitalism, which combines the strength of the monopolies and the state, the conflict between the vastly increased productive forces and capitalist production relations is becoming ever more acute. The inner instability of the economy is growing, which is seen in the slowing down of the overall rates of its growth, in the intertwining and deepening of cyclical and structural crises. Mass unemployment and inflation have become a chronic disease, and budget deficits and state debts have reached a colossal scale.
The strengthening of transnational corporations, which make huge profits by exploiting working people on a world scale, is a direct result of capitalist concentration and internationalisation of production. They not only undermine the sovereignty of newly free states, but also encroach on the national interests of developed capitalist countries.
The monopoly bourgeoisie is constantly manoeuvring in an attempt to adjust itself to the changing situation. A capitalist state redistributes, in particular through the budget, a considerable part of the national income in favour of big capital and tries to place at its service the latest achievements in science and technology. The mechanism of exploitation has become more complex, more sophisticated. The skills, intellectual powers and the energy of the worker are being exploited for gaining more and more profit.
With the growing influence of world socialism, the class struggle of working people at times compels the capitalists to make partial concessions, to agree to certain improvements as regards working conditions, remuneration for work and social security. This is being done to preserve the main thing - the domination of capital. Such manoeuvring, however, is being increasingly combined with violent actions, with a direct assault by the monopolies and the bourgeois state on the living standards of working people.
Under capitalism the scientific and technological revolution has grave social consequences. Millions of working people, thrown out of the factory gates, are doomed to losing their skills and to material hardships, and can have no confidence in the future. A considerable proportion of young people cannot find application for their energy and knowledge and suffer from the hopelessness of their condition. Mass unemployment remains regardless of the economic situation, while the real prospect of its further growth is fraught with the most serious upheavals for capitalism as a social system.
The monopolies have seized the dominant positions in the agrarian sector of the economy. Large number of farmers are being forced out of the production sphere while those who survive do so at the cost of excessive work and privations. The fate of farmers' families depends entirely on market fluctuations and the arbitrariness of monopolies. The plight of the peasantry is especially grave in the former colonies and semicolonies. The small and middle businessmen in cities are being increasingly exploited by big capital and are caught in the net of financial dependence.
Even in the most developed capitalist countries a great number of people are deprived, homeless, illiterate and without medical care. Shameful discrimination against ethnic minorities persists and the rights of women are infringed upon.
A tendency towards an all-round intensification of reaction is
characteristic of imperialism in the political field. Wherever the working
people have achieved certain democratic rights as a result of determined
struggle, state-monopoly capitalism is conducting a persistent at times
cunningly camouflaged offensive against those rights. In situations that
pose a danger to state-monopoly capitalism, it resorts without hesitation to
political blackmail, repression, terror and punitive actions. Neo-fascism
is becoming increasingly active in the political arena. When the usual
forms of suppressing working people fail, imperialism implants and backs
tyrannic regimes in order directly to suppress progressive forces by
military means. Striving to weaken the international solidarity of working
people, imperialism stirs up and abets national egoism, chauvinism and
racism, and scorn for the rights and interests of other peoples and their
national cultural and historical heritage.
The inhumane ideology of modern capitalism is inflicting even greater damage on the spiritual world of people. The cult of individualism, violence and permissiveness, rabid anti-communism and exploitation of culture as a source of profit give rise to spiritual callousness, to moral degradation. Imperialism has given rise to large-scale crime and terrorism that have engulfed capitalist society. Ever more pernicious is the role of the bourgeois mass media which befuddle people in the interests of the ruling class.
The uneven nature of the development of countries within the capitalist system is deepening. Three main centres of interimperialist rivalry have formed: the United States, Western Europe and Japan. Competition is mounting between them for markets, spheres of capital investment, sources of raw materials and superiority in the key areas of scientific and technological progress. New centres of economic and political rivalry are forming, particularly in the Pacific basin and in Latin America. Contradictions between bourgeois states are deepening. The imperial ambitions and selfish policy of the US monopolies and their readiness, for egoistic reasons, to sacrifice the interests and security of other, even allied, states are giving rise to growing indignation and alarm throughout the world.
Imperialism is responsible for the huge and widening gap between the economic development levels of the industrial capitalist countries and the majority of the newly free states, for the continued existence on earth of vast zones of hunger, poverty and epidemic diseases.
As the course of historical development more and more weakens the positions of imperialism, the policy of its more reactionary forces becomes increasingly hostile to the interests of the peoples. Imperialism is putting up fierce resistance to social progress, and is trying to stop the course of history, to undermine the positions of socialism, and to avenge itself socially on a world scale. 'The imperialist powers strive to coordinate their economic, political and ideological strategy, to create a common front of struggle against socialism, against all revolutionary, liberation movements.
Imperialism refuses to face the political realities of today's world. Ignoring the will of sovereign peoples, it tries to deprive them of their right to choose their road of development and threatens their security. Herein lies the main cause of conflicts in various parts of the world.
The citadel of international reaction is US imperialism. The threat of war comes chiefly from it. Claiming world domination, it arbitrarily declares whole continents to be zones of its "vital interests." The US policy of hegemony, the imposition of its will and unequal relations on other states, support for repressive anti-popular regimes and discrimination against countries that do not suit the United States, disorganises inter-state economic and political relations and prevents their normal development.
The bloody war against Vietnam, the blockade of Cuba for many years, the flouting of the lawful rights of the Palestinian people, the intervention in Lebanon, the armed seizure of defenceless Grenada, and the aggressive actions against Nicaragua - these are only some of the countless crimes that will remain forever the most shameful pages in imperialism's history.
The race unleashed by imperialism in the manufacture of nuclear and other arms on a scale that knows no precedent is its gravest crime against the peoples. It brings the monopolies huge profits. The colossal military expenditures weigh heavily on the shoulders of working people. The monopolies that manufacture arms, the military, the state bureaucracy, the ideological machinery and militarised science, that have merged to form the military-industrial complex, have become the most zealous advocates and makers of policies of adventurism and aggression. The sinister alliance of the death merchants and imperialist state power is a pillar of extreme reaction, a constant and growing source of war danger, and a convincing confirmation of the capitalist system's political, social and moral untenability.
No "modifications" and manoeuvres by modern capitalism have rendered invalid or can render invalid the laws of its development, or can overcome the acute antagonism between labour and capital, between the monopolies and society, or can bring the historically doomed capitalist system out of its all-permeating crisis. The dialectics of development are such that the very same means which capitalism puts to use with the aim of strengthening its positions inevitably lead to an aggravation of all its deep-seated contradictions. Imperialism is parasitical, decaying and moribund capitalism; it marks the eve of socialist revolution.
The working class was and is the main revolutionary class of the present age. In the capitalist world, it is the main force struggling for the overthrow of the exploiting system and for building a new society.
Practice confirms the Marxist-Leninist concept of the increasing role of the working class in society. As science is being applied in production on an ever larger scale, the ranks of the working class are being replenished with highly skilled workers. In the course of class battles, the working class becomes more cohesive, creates its own political parties, trade unions and other organisations, and wages economic, political and ideological struggle against capitalism. The scale of that struggle is growing, its forms are becoming more diverse and its content is being enriched. The basic interests of the proletariat make it more and more imperative to achieve unity in the working-class movement and concerted actions by all its contingents.
The young and rapidly growing working class in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America is facing difficult tasks. It is opposed both by foreign capital and local exploiters. Its political maturity and degree of organisation are growing in the course of struggle.
The vanguard of the working class movement, of all the forces of the world revolutionary process is the international communist movement. Communists are working for both the immediate and the long-term goals of the working class, for the interests of all the working people, for social progress, national liberation of peoples, disarmament and peace. The communist movement is the most influential ideological and political force of our time.
The revolutionary parties of the working class are guided by the scientific theory of social developement, Marxism-Leninism, and are pursuing a principled working-class policy. They are characterised by a conviction in the historical inevitability of the replacement of capitalism by socialism, a clear understanding of the objective laws of socialist revolution in whatever form - peaceful or non-peaceful - and an ability to apply the general principles of struggle for socialism in the specific conditions of every country.
The strength of revolutionary parties lies in the fact that they firmly uphold the rights and vital aspirations of the working people, point out ways of leading society out of the crisis situation of bourgeois society, indicate a real alternative to the exploiter system and provide answers imbued with social optimism, to the basic questions of our time. They are the true exponents and the most staunch defenders of the national interests of their countries.
A consistently class-oriented course enhances the authority of the Communist parties, despite the fact that the political and ideological machinery of imperialism is operating in an increasingly subtle way. It is combining discrimination against and persecution of Communists and outright anti-communist propaganda with support for those elements in the working-class movement that are opposed to working-class policy and international solidarity, and that endorse social reconciliation and partnership with the bourgeoisie. The monopoly bourgeoisie and reactionary forces attack the Communists so fiercely precisely because the latter represent a movement that has deep roots in social development and that expresses the most vital interests of the mass of the people.
A characteristic feature of our time is an upsurge of mass democratic movements in the non-socialist world. The antagonism between the monopolies and the overwhelming majority of the population is deepening in capitalist countries. Professionals and office employees, farmers, representatives of the urban petty bourgeoisie and national minorities, women's organisations, young people and students are taking an ever more active part in the struggle against the dominance of the monopolies and against the reactionary policy of the ruling classes. People of different political views are demanding an end to the militarisation of society and to the policy of aggression and war, an end to racial and national discrimination, to infringements on the rights of women, to the deterioration in the condition of the younger generation, to corruption, and to the predatory attitude of the monopolies towards the use of natural resources and the environment. These movements are objectively directed against the policy of the reactionary circles of imperialism and merge with the overall struggle for peace and social progress.
The anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples of all countries that have cast off the yoke of colonialism for the consolidation of their independence and for social progress is an integral part of the world revolutionary process. The disintegration of the colonial system of imperialism and the emergence of dozens of independent states from its ruins are an historic achievement of the national liberation revolutions and movements, an achievement that has considerably influenced the alignment of forces in the world.
Since independence many of those countries have made appreciable progress in economic and cultural development and in consolidating national statehood.
Collective forms of struggle by those countries for their rights in the international arena have taken shape. Practice has shown, however, that their way to the consolidation of political independence and to economic and social rejuvenation is being seriously hampered by the legacy of their colonial and semi-colonial past and by the actions of imperialism.
Conducting a policy of new-colonialism, imperialism is seeking to reduce to naught the sovereignty won by the young states and to retain and even tighten control over them. It is trying to drag them into a militarist orbit and to use them as springboards for its aggressive global strategy. In pursuing these goals, the imperialists resort to military pressure, impose their economic diktat and support internal reaction. Even countries that won state independence long ago, for instance, Latin American countries, have to wage a resolute struggle against the dominance of the monopolies of the United States and other imperialist powers.
Taking advantage of the economic and technological dependence of the newly free countries and their unequal status in the world capitalist economy, imperialism mercilessly exploits them. It is exacting tributes that run into billions of dollars, and which are exhausting the economies of those states. The huge indebtedness of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America to the industrially developed capitalist states has become an important lever for the exploitation of these countries by imperialism, and primarily US imperialism. At the same time, the resistance of the peoples of these countries to the policy of plunder and robbery is growing. They are continuing their determined, just struggle against neo-colonialism, against interference in their internal affairs, and against racism and apartheid. This resistance objectively links up with the overall anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples for freedom, peace, and social progress.
The non-capitalist way of development, the way of socialist orientation, chosen by a number of newly free countries, is opening up broad prospects for social progress. The experience of these countries confirms that in present-day conditions, with the existing world alignment of forces, the formerly enslaved peoples have greater possibilities for rejecting capitalism and for building their future without exploiters, in the interests of the working people. This is a phenomenon of immense historic importance.
Overcoming the resistance of external and internal reaction, the ruling revolutionary-democratic parties are pursuing a course of abolishing the dominance of imperialist monopolies, tribal chiefs, feudal lords and the reactionary bourgeoisie; of strengthening the public sector of the economy; of encouraging the cooperative movement in the countryside; and of enhancing the role of the mass of the working people in economic and political life. Defending their independence against the onslaught of the imperialists, these countries are broadening their cooperation with socialist states. The road chosen by them meets the genuine interests and aspirations of the mass of the people, reflects their desire for a just social system, and coincides with the mainstream of historical development.
The most acute problem facing mankind is that of war and peace. Imperialism was responsible for two world wars that claimed tens of millions of lives. It is creating the threat of a third world war. Imperialism is using the achievements of man's genius for the development of weapons of awesome destructive power. The policy of the imperialist circles, which are prepared to sacrifice the future of whole nations, is increasing the danger that these weapons may actually be put to use. In the final count it threatens mankind with a global armed conflict in which there would be no winners or losers and in which world civilisation could perish.
The question of what goals the achievements of the scientific and technological revolution should serve has become pivotal in the present-day socio-political struggle. Contemporary science and technology make it possible to ensure abundance on earth and to create material conditions for the flourishing of society and the development of the individual. These creations of the human mind and human hands, however, are being turned against humanity itself owing to class selfishness, for the sake of the enrichment of the elite, which dominates the capitalist world. This is a glaring contradiction which confronts mankind as it approaches the threshold of the 21st century.
It is not science and technology in themselves that pose a threat to peace. This threat is posed by imperialism and its policy, the policy of the most reactionary militarist, aggressive forces of our time. The threat can be averted only by curbing those forces.
In the present-day world, which is riddled with acute contradictions, and in the face of impending catastrophe, the only sensible and acceptable way out is the peaceful coexistence of states with different social systems. This does not merely mean the absence of wars. It is an international order under which good-neighbourliness and cooperation rather than armed force would prevail, and a broad exchange of the achievements of science and technology and cultural values would be carried out for the good of all nations. When vast resources are no longer used for military purposes, it would be possible to use the fruits of labour exclusively for constructive purposes. States that have embarked on the road of independent development would be protected from external encroachments, and this would facilitate their advance along the path of national and social revival. Favourable opportunities would also arise for solving the global problems by the collective efforts of all states. Peaceful coexistence meets the interests of all countries and peoples.
The danger looming over mankind has never been so awesome. But then the possibilities for safeguarding and strengthening peace have never been so real. By uniting their efforts the peoples can and must avert the threat of nuclear annihilation.
The aggressive policy of imperialism is being countered by the growing potential of the forces of peace. This means the vigorous and consistently peaceful policy of the socialist states and their growing economic and defensive capacity. This means the policy of the overwhelming majority of states of Asia, Africa and Latin America which have a vital interest in safeguarding peace and ending the arms race. This means the anti-war movements of the broadest mass of the people on all continents, movements that have become a long-lasting and influential factor in the life of society. A realistic assessment of the actual alignment of forces is leading many statesmen and politicians in capitalist states, too, to an understanding of the danger involved in continuing and extending the arms race.
The CPSU proceeds from the belief that, however grave the threat to peace posed by the policy of the aggressive circles of imperialism, world war is not fatally inevitable. It is possible to avert war and to save mankind from a catastrophe. This is the historical mission of socialism, of all the progressive and peace-loving forces of the world.
The entite course of world development confirms the Marxist-Leninist analysis of the character and main content of the present epoch. It is an epoch of transition from capitalism to socialism and communism, and of historical competition between the two world socio-political systems, an epoch of socialist and national liberation revolutions and of the disintegration of colonialism, an epoch of struggle of the main motive forces of social development - world socialism, the working-class and communist movement, the peoples of the newly free states, and the mass democratic movements - against imperialism and its policy of aggression and oppression, and for peace, democracy, and social progress.
The constant growth of these forces and their interaction are a pledge that the hopes of the peoples for a life of peace, freedom, and happiness will be fulfilled. The advance of humanity towards socialism and communism, despite all its unevenness, complexity and contradictoriness, is inevitable.
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