A Weapon of Theory: A Maoist (Third Worldist) Reader
From the Introduction:
“In its simplest terms, Third Worldism is a trend within Marxism which upholds that class analysis is as crucial as ever to the communist movement today. Third Worldists believe that without a clear understanding of who our real enemies and friends are, without uncovering the concrete relations to the forces of production that people really hold, then the communist movement in the First World will continue to stagnate. Namely, we believe that the vast majority of the world’s people — the masses of workers in the Third World along with a minority of people in the First World — are exploited and/or ground down by capitalism and imperialism to the point of being unable to flourish. On the other hand, we also believe that the vast majority of workers in First World nations have been “bought off” by imperialist super-profits. Monopoly capitalists in imperialist states glean most of their profits from exploitation of Third World labor, and they make such a killing on Third World exploitation that they can afford to pay their “own” workers in the First World a value well above what those workers themselves produce, while still maintaining average profit rates. In other words, high wages in the First World are supplemented with profit extracted from Third World workers. This means that class struggle has been largely deadened in the First World, because most workers in the imperialist core depend upon imperialism to sustain their current living standards. The contradiction between the working class in the imperialist nations and the bourgeoisie has become a non-antagonistic one. What this means for communist praxis in the First World is still somewhat of an open question.”
Marx & Engels: On Colonies, Industrial Monopoly and the Working Class Movement
Originally compiled by the Danish Communist Working Circle (CWC) and including an indispensable introduction by Zak Cope and Torkil Lauesen, as well as a short foreword by the Organizing Committee for the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement, the bulk of this handy little text comprises passages from the corpus of Marx and Engels as they attempt to confront the differential effects of colonialism on the populations of the oppressor and oppressed nations respectively. From Engels’ warning to Bebel not to be “bamboozled into thinking there is a real proletarian movement going on [in England]…” [p.125] (a warning First-Worldists would regard as heresy) to Marx’s observations on the effect of colonial spoils on the English working class “which in part I cannot tell the English workers themselves. … The English working class will never accomplish anything before it has got rid of Ireland. The lever must be applied in Ireland.” [p.107] The selections show us Marx and Engels as their eurocentric—that is, upholding the centrality (as regards revolution) of the “developed” capitalist countries of north amerika and western Europe—framework begins to break down in the course of the development of the workers’ movement in Europe. It is a trend which has continued within Marxism, augmented by thinkers like Lenin, but also marxists of the colonial and oppressed nations, such as M.N. Roy, Ho Chi Minh, M. Sultan-Galiev, D.N.Aidit, Lin Biao and others past and present.
Overall, this little volume is not only an excellent trove of passages from Marx and Engels, but an indispensable piece for all scholars, activists and organizers who wish to confront modern capitalism-imperialism within the belly of the beast.