Tasks of the Struggle Against Imperialism

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tasks of the Struggle Against Imperialism


(full title, Tasks at the Present Stage of the Struggle Against Imperialism and United Action of the Communist and Workers’ Parties and All Anti-imperialist Forces), a document outlining the program of the contemporary world communist and workers’ movement. Adopted at the international Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow June 5–17, 1969, it consists of a Marxist-Leninist analysis of the contemporary international situation, of the social and economic processes under way in the capitalist world and in the socialist and developing countries, and of the situation in the communist movement. The document also contains conclusions based on this analysis, which have the aim of uniting the anti-imperialist forces, intensifying the struggle against imperialism, and strengthening the cause of peace, democracy, national independence, and socialism.

The document states that the present stage is characterized by growing possibilities for a further advance of the revolutionary and progressive forces. Three mighty forces of our time—the world socialist system, the international working class, and the national liberation movement—are coming together in the struggle against imperialism. The world revolutionary movement continues its offensive despite the difficulties and setbacks of some of its contingents. Imperialism has been unable to gain an advantage in the world balance of forces through counterattacks. The most convincing proof of the contradiction between imperialism’s aggressive plans and its real capabilities has been the defeat suffered by American imperialism in Vietnam. The successes of the Vietnamese people have shown convincingly that in our time nations defending their freedom and receiving the broad support of the USSR, of other socialist countries, and of progressive forces throughout the world are capable of repulsing imperialist aggression ever more successfully. The imperialist forces, those of the US above all, have failed to crush the progressive regimes in the Arab countries and to preserve or regain their positions in the Middle East.

At the same time imperialism remains a serious and dangerous opponent of the forces of peace, democracy, and socialism. “Global in scale, the basic contradiction between imperialism and socialism is growing deeper. Under conditions where the struggle between the two world systems is becoming sharper, the capitalist powers seek, despite the growing contradictions dividing them, to unite their efforts to uphold and strengthen the system of exploitation and oppression and regain the positions they have lost. US imperialism strives to retain its influence over other capitalist countries and pursue a common policy with them in the main spheres of the class struggle” (Mezhdunarodnoe Soveshchanie kommunisticheskikh i rabochikh partii: Dokumenty i materialy, Moscow, 1969, pp. 286–87). At the same time, the spearhead of the aggressive strategy of imperialism is aimed above all against the socialist states.

The document contains an analysis of new features in the development of contemporary imperialism, features connected with its attempt to adapt itself, on the one hand, to the conditions of struggle between the two systems and, on the other, to the demands of the scientific and technical revolution, which leads to an acceleration of the process of economic socialization and consequently, under the domination of monopolies, to a further deepening of social contradictions. The state-monopoly character of capitalism has intensified. The state makes more extensive use of the economic levers at its disposal for stimulating capitalist production. “However, state-monopoly regulation, exercised in forms and on a scale which meet the interests of monopoly capital and are aimed at preserving its rule, is unable to control the spontaneous forces of the capitalist market” (ibid., p. 297). As a result, not only are all previously existing contradictions of capitalism becoming sharper, but new ones are coming into existence. “The course of social development shows that imperialism comes into conflict with the vital interests of workers by hand and by brain, of different social strata, peoples, and nations. As a result, growing masses of working people, social movements, and entire peoples are rising against imperialism” (ibid., p. 301).

The decisive force in the anti-imperialist struggle is the world socialist system, whose contribution to that struggle is determined above all by its growing economic power.

One of the most important tasks of the Communist and workers’ parties of socialist countries is the development of the international socialist division of labor and of overall voluntary cooperation among socialist countries, cooperation which rules out any infringement of national interests, ensures the advance of each country, and consolidates the might of the world socialist system as a whole.

The document notes that the establishment of a new type of international relations is a complicated historical process in the course of which difficulties will arise. However, the socialist system is based on the identity of the socioeconomic structure of its member countries and on the identity of their basic interests. This identity is a guarantee that existing difficulties will be overcome and that the unity of the socialist system will be further strengthened on the basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism and of proletarian internationalism.

The document points out that the strengthening of the socialist community on the basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism and of proletarian internationalism corresponds to the fundamental interests of all revolutionary contingents, and that the defense of socialism is the international duty of all Communists.

The document states that in the citadels of capitalism growth is taking place not only in the contradictions between capital and labor but also in the antagonism between the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people and those of the financial oligarchy. Class confrontations, strikes, and other actions by workers and other social strata in various countries are taking on ever wider scope. The road of anti-imperialist struggle is being entered upon by new strata of the intelligentsia, which in an age when science is becoming a direct productive force, are swelling the ranks of hired labor. Working youth, primarily young industrial workers, and stu-dents are becoming increasingly active in the struggle against imperialism. The number of women actively participating in the class struggle is growing. Opportunities have opened up for an alliance—on an antimonopoly and anti-imperialist basis—between the revolutionary workers’ movement and the broad masses of believers. In the course of united antimonopoly and anti-imperialist actions favorable conditions are created for the formation of a democratic alliance whose main force is the working class. Furthermore, one of the main conditions for the success of the struggle against the monopolies and their power is the strengthening of the alliance between workers and peasants.

The document points out that the radical democratic transformations that will be achieved in the struggle against the monopolies will promote among ever broader masses awareness of the need for socialism. The Communist and workers’ parties consider the struggle for advanced democracy an inseparable part of the struggle for socialism.

In the new situation a differentiation is taking place in the ranks of Social Democracy, and this is also reflected in the leadership. Some Social Democratic leaders have come out in defense of imperialism, while others are inclined to consider the demands of the working masses. For Communists the struggle against opportunism is a constant task. Without weakening their criticism of reformist concepts, Communists, who ascribe decisive importance to the unity of the working class, “are in favor of cooperation with the Socialists and Social Democrats to establish an advanced democratic regime today and to build a socialist society in the future” (ibid., p. 306). Communists are also consistent advocates of trade union unity both nationally and internationally.

During the past decade, the document points out, the role of the anti-imperialist movement in Asia, Africa, and Latin America has continued to grow. In the newly independent countries of Africa and Asia social differentiation is growing, and there is intensifying conflict between democratic forces and imperialism and the forces of internal reaction—those elements among the national bourgeoisie that are increasingly inclined to come to terms with imperialism. Some young states, under the influence of the revolutionary conditions of our times, have taken the path of non-capitalist development. In these countries, which are engaged in a resolute struggle against imperialism and neocolonialism, a socialist orientation is gradually establishing itself, overcoming great difficulties and trials. ‘The interests of social progress of the peoples in the newly liberated countries demand close cooperation between the Communist Parties and the other patriotic and progressive forces. A hostile attitude to communism and persecution of Communists harm the struggle for the national and social liberation of peoples” (ibid., p. 314).

The document states that in Latin America the proletariat and the Communist and workers’ parties are playing an increasingly important role in the anti-imperialist movement. The broad popular masses, the students, the progressive intelligentsia, and many groups among the middle strata of the urban population are allying themselves with the proletariat. The Cuban revolution has inaugurated a new stage in the revolutionary movement by breaking the chain of imperialist oppression in Latin America and creating the first socialist state in the Americas.

Of primary importance for the future prospects of the anti-imperialist struggle is the strengthening of the alliance between the socialist system and the workers’ and national liberation movements.

The platform of anti-imperialist struggle presented in the document calls for militant solidarity and overall support for the heroic Vietnamese people; struggle against the danger of global nuclear war and for peace throughout the world; struggle for the realization of the principles of peaceful coexistence of states with differing social systems; intensified efforts toward preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and toward banning such weapons; solidarity with peoples and countries that are the constant object of aggressive encroachments by imperialism; united actions against all acts of aggression by imperialism and against its unleashing of local wars or any other form of intervention in any part of the world; and struggle against neocolonialism, fascism, and racism and for the democratization of all aspects of social life.

The document emphasizes that the cohesion of Communist and workers’ parties is the most important factor in uniting all anti-imperialist forces. The document formulates the principles of the relations between parties, specifies the forms of cooperation between them, confirms the inseparability of national and international responsibilities of each party, and points to the ways by which the differences that have arisen within the communist movement can be overcome. The document calls special attention to the need for strengthening the struggle of Communist parties against revisionism, right-wing opportunism, nationalism, and left-wing sectarian adventurism. It calls upon Communist and workers’ parties to rally together around the principles of Marxism-Leninism under the banner of proletarian internationalism. “Loyalty to Marxism-Leninism and to proletarian internationalism and dedicated and devoted service in the interests of their peoples and the common cause of socialism,” the document states, “are a requisite for the efficacy and correct orientation of united action by the Communist and Workers’ Parties, a guarantee that they will achieve their historic goals” (ibid., p. 329).

The overwhelming majority of those participating in the international Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties of 1969 fully approved the document adopted by the conference. The delegations of the Communist parties of Australia, Italy, San Marino, and Reunion, while also favoring greater unity among the Communist and workers’ parties and all anti-imperialist forces, expressed full agreement only with the part of the document that sets forth a program for struggle against imperialism.


Dokumenty mezhdunarodnogo Soveshchaniia kommunisticheskikh i rabochikh partii. Moskva, 5–17 iiunia 1969. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.