Maoism-Third Worldism is a theoretical culmination of historical revolutionary practice, a science of understanding the world so as to change it. It is the Marxism of today.
Maoism-Third Worldism includes several historical and new paradigmatic shifts in understandings regarding class struggle. These include the following.
All Hitherto History Is the History of Class Struggle
Maoism-Third Worldism reaffirms historical materialism, i.e. that the struggle between groups over their relationship to the means of producing and distributing wealth is the chief factor which shapes history.
Capital Is Dead Labor That Only Lives by Sucking Living Labor
All economic wealth is the product of labor. Under capitalism, wealth becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands to the detriment of producers. This contradiction between the proletariat, the class for which the struggle against capitalism represents “nothing to lose but chains and a world to win,” and exploiters is not resolvable under capitalism.
Socialism or Barbarism
All things, including the social world, are in a process of development. The question of what direction the world will develop depends on class struggle. The basic choice facing humanity today is between socialism and communism or widespread ruin.
The Proletariat Must Organize to Destroy the Old Structure of Power and Build the New
Substantive progressive change to the capitalist system can not come from political reforms. Rather, the proletariat must organize to seize the instruments of production and construct their own state-forms to suppress reactionaries and carry through the revolution.
Proletarian Class Consciousness Doesn’t Come Solely From Day-To-Day Economic Struggles
The struggle against capitalism and for socialism is representative of the immediate necessity of an entire class and exemplifies an even larger range of interests. Yet this is not always demonstrated in the direct struggles waged by particular groups of the proletariat.
Proletariat political consciousness is that which recognizes and organizes around the long-term strategic and tactical interests of the proletariat as a class. It is born from wider experiences of class struggle, and it is often brought to the proletarian masses by its most conscious elements or from without.
The Doctrine of Class Dictatorship
Everything reflects in some manner extant social relations. The state, culture, art and day-to-day interactions are field of struggle in which different lines of understanding based on either proletarian class consciousness or reactionary ideology play out. Maoism-Third Worldism promotes the revolutionary struggle to seize power both over the means of production and every aspect of the superstructure as well.
Socialism Is the Necessary Prelude to Communism
Socialism is transitional period between the formal overthrow of capitalism under the leadership of the proletariat to the restructuring of society based on the democratic and rational control over the production and allocation of use values, without oppression, classes or a state.
Imperialism Is a Qualitative Shift in Capitalism
The growth of the productive forces combined with historically-enshrined and militarily-enforced monopoly/imperialist advantages renders the contradiction between the proletariat and capital as one between exploiter and exploited nations.
Hence, the principal contradiction today is between the masses of peripheral and semiperipheral countries on one hand and exploiter classes tied to capitalism-imperialism on the other. A revolution on the part of the Third World’s masses would in fact be a world revolution, as much of the value captured by the First World today is produced in the Third World.
Parasitism and the Wages of Imperialism
Imperialism renders entire local, national and regional economies of the core as primarily parasitic and dependent on the exploitation of the wider peripheral and semiperipheral zones. This necessarily alters the terrain of class struggle.
Specifically, imperialism pays qualitatively higher wages to a minority of workers. This has both an economic function in maintaining capital accumulation in the core at the expense of the masses of the Third World and an ideological function by “bribing” these workers into supporting imperialism.
First World and “middle class” workers who receive wages above the abstract value of labor, i.e. above the value of the goods and services exchanged throughout the world economy in a given period divided by the quantity of labor through which it is produced, are not part of the proletariat because the magnitude of their wages are dependent on imperialist exploitation and could not be maintained without it.
Hence, Maoism-Third Worldism opposes all economism on behalf of workers in imperialist countries.
Global People’s War and Global New Democracy
Protracted people’s war complimented by the mass line, as demonstrated in the Chinese Revolution and creatively applied to particular situations, is the best suited means of revolutionary struggle in peripheral and semiperipheral countries. The notion of waging class struggle must be considered globally as well.
Chinese revolutionary Lin Biao noted that the imperialist First World represented the “cities of the world” and that the exploited Third World the “countryside of the world.” Given the vast underdevelopment of the Third World at the hands of the First World, the struggle of the world’s masses is not immediately one for socialism but for global new democracy.
This demands the hemming in and wide-ranging defeat of imperialism by an international proletariat-led coalition of progressive classes and the building of the requisite productive forces, class alliances and consciousness to continue the struggle for socialism and communism.
Continuing Class Struggle Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat
Socialism is not a straight line towards communism. Rather, due to leftover attitudes and oppression, privileges which accompany positions of authority and the existence of capitalist blocs, the structural possibility remains for the generation of a “new bourgeoisie” under socialism which will attempt to seize power, halt class struggle, and unite to make accommodations with remaining reactionaries.
The only solution is the continuation of class struggle under socialism to the end of countering and routing these efforts at the restoration of capitalism. This is the only means to continue towards communism.
Women Hold up Half the Sky
The participation of women is paramount for the success of the struggles for people’s war, global new democracy, socialism and communism. Women make up over half of the proletariat and form the backbone of our ability to reach and transform the day-to-day lives of the masses through struggle.
As a paradigmatic shift, the struggle for socialism and communism must take a totally different approach to humanity’s relationship the the natural environment. Under socialism and communism, the preservation and enhancement of natural abundance for the common good will take precedence over the profit-seeking interest of the few. Moreover, people’s relationship with non-human life must more closely resemble the relationship that we strive to achieve between ourselves.
National Liberation for Oppressed Nations
The struggle for proletarian revolution must support and find common cause with the struggle for liberation and self-determination of oppressed nations. Within imperialist cores, the struggle for national liberation should be promoted as a detachment of the wider struggle for global new democracy, socialism and communism.
The semantic application of Maoism-Third Worldism and the above terminology are not so important. What is important is that the above lessons are internalized and put into practice by revolutionary movements today.
The struggle against capitalism-imperialism is a life or death matter for a large portion of the world’s people.
The wider program of proletarian revolution touches on all aspects of life and carries which it the long-term interest of humanity itself.
For these reasons, it is important that Marxism today, revolutionary science, draws from the history of class struggle the best understandings available.
Capitalism-imperialism will not fall on its own, but it can be defeated. Enlightened by the lessons of previous class struggle and carried out in concert with a broad united front against imperialism, proletarian-led revolutionary struggles can defeat capitalism-imperialism, lay the foundations of socialism and embark on the road to communism.
Note: This article was originally published by Anti-Imperialism.com on Feb. 11, 2012.