Warsaw Pact intervention
NEW YORK, August 22, 1968 -- Sam Marcy, chairman of Workers World Party, announced the organization's support of the Warsaw Pact nations' intervention into Czechoslovakia today and made the following statement to the press:The worst possible thing that could happen in Czechoslovakia would be the triumph of the counter-revolution and the restoration of capitalism. This would inevitably mean open or covert domination by U.S. imperialism and for the masses a return to the slavery of the past.
The victory of the counter-revolution in Czechoslovakia would encourage all the counter-revolutionary elements of Eastern Europe and those in the Soviet Union as well. It would place in doubt the very existence of the socialist countries, including the Soviet Union, where the forces of reaction were most recently evidenced by the reactionary thesis of Professor Sakharov, who is supported by the same elements who sponsored the Czech counter-revolution.
We would prefer a revival of Leninism in Czechoslovakia and a return to the road of genuine communism, full and complete. But there is no existing revolutionary alternative to the present contending forces in that country.
We do not support the political policies of the Soviet revisionists, because they themselves are responsible for unleashing many of the restorationist forces. But as against the bourgeois counter-revolution, we support the Warsaw Pact intervention under present circumstances.
Counter-revolution, not "reform"
August 22, 1968 -- In evaluating the intervention of Warsaw Pact troops in Czechoslovakia on August 21, it is first necessary to evaluate the situation that led to it. Under the smokescreen of "reform," and to the accompaniment of cheers from the "democratic" imperialists of the West, a counter-revolution has been taking place in that country for at least eight months.
The political basis for restoring the inequalities of the past, speeding up the workers and making organic ties with capitalist countries was laid by the victory of the group led by Alexander Dubcek last January. The economic basis was laid three months later by the proposal to reintroduce the capitalist market particularly the repenetration of the world market into the Czech economy by surrendering the socialist state monopoly of foreign trade and simultaneously inviting foreign monopoly corporations to join in exploiting the Czechoslovak workers.
The profits and privileges of a new capitalist aristocracy such as that of the United States (but on a junior level) were in the offing. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (both controlled by the U.S.) were approached by the Czech "reformers." New pacts, some of them still secret, were being negotiated with the U.S. satellite, West Germany, an imperialist state which has never given up its drive to subjugate socialist East Germany and take over the economy of Czechoslovakia, too, along with the rest of East Europe. (It was the dynamic capitalist economy of German imperialism that set Hitler on the road to war, and the same imperialism, minus Hitler, is now attempting to do the same thing "peacefully.")
This has all taken place under the leadership of Alexander Dubcek, who replaced Antonin Novotny as First Secretary of the Communist Party in January, although the tendencies toward capitalist restoration had already existed for years.
The Dubcek group must be described as capitalist restorationist, while the Novotny group, in spite of its revisionist character and its undoubted mismanagement of the economy, was the leadership of a workers' state, with its social roots in the nationalized economy.
The movement toward imperialism is unfortunately a mighty one. The plots of capitalist restoration are not mere cloak-and-dagger affairs. They are not restricted to CIA agents and Czech Nazis, even though such gentlemen do play an important role. They are not primarily the actions of little groups of faceless men, but the reassertion of broad capitalist tendencies (which are international) in the workers' state and their legitimization by a new group which has usurped political power.
This group is the political expression of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of middle class individuals (who have hundreds of thousands of friends and supporters) striving to increase their privileges at the expense of the masses. Since these are the people who are radio announcers, reporters, teachers, lawyers, etc., as well as engineers and administrators, they, as the repositories of Czechoslovak culture, can easily appear to speak in the name of the whole Czechoslovak nation.
(Without the intercession of imperialism and the pressures of the world capitalist market, this group would have been helpless, however.)
The workers, less articulate, not yet raised to full socialist consciousness -- although it was they who made the 1948 revolution in the first place -- have not been able to find their own independent class role in the difficult situation. The misleadership of the past, the falsely posed national question of the present, combine to confuse the workers, and may even force some of them to accept the leadership of the restorationists.
The restorationists want to legalize their stolen privileges and increase them. They have neither the patience, the faith in the abundance of world socialism, nor the will to world revolution required for middle class loyalty to the workers' state. A genuine, popular revolutionary workers' leadership would have held them in line, at least to a very great extent. But as matters stood, they not only got out of line, they took over the government.
With the aid of the capitalist West, they all but completed a "cold" counter-revolution and laid the political basis for a restoration of capitalism, with all capitalism's miseries, inequalities and tendencies to war and depression.
Short road from liberalism to fascism
As in Hungary in 1956, the liberal capitalists of the United States have already begun to tell heart-throbbing stories about idealistic people in Czechoslovakia, spiritually crushed by the Warsaw Pact intervention. These stories are calculated to prove that the struggle is really between "liberalism" and "dictatorship."
But also, as in Hungary, Czechoslovak capitalism provides a slender reed for Czech liberalism. Just as the right-wing Communists and the Social Democrats quickly gave way to the bourgeois Smallholders Party in Hungary and the latter began to step aside for Cardinal Mindszenty and the fascists -- so Czechoslovakia would have gone, and would still go, under Dubcek.
Capitalist liberalism needs stability first of all. It needs a more or less contented middle class, with a powerful and wealthy capitalist class, well able to use bribery on a large scale so as not to have to resort too often to police measures of repression.
This could hardly be the case with Czechoslovakia, especially since the workers would become more and more restless, with layoffs, new wage policies, piece work, etc., etc., and would inevitably begin actions to regain their lost rights.
Czechoslovak capitalist restorationism would thus not have the liberal democratic embroidery that the U.S. capitalists pretend to love so much -- at least not for very long. Its dynamic and its historical logic both point in the direction of ... fascism.
East Germany endangered
The German Democratic Republic, which has stood for two decades against a revival of imperialist Germany's expansion and against the revival of Hitlerism, has been placed in an extremely precarious position by the intrigues of the Czech restorationists with the West German imperialists. The proposed Czechoslovak recognition of West Germany and the increased trade and other relations with it would seriously undercut the GDR (which West Germany does not recognize and is trying to isolate) and greatly strengthen the political position of the West German capitalists over Eastern Europe in general.
This is more important and more fundamental than the plots of a few revanchists for immediate military attack against Czechoslovakia. It is reason for serious alarm about the future military and political situation of the Warsaw Pact countries and is one of the most pressing causes for their present military intervention.
The U.S. press is bleating about the Soviet Army entering Prague and is making the false parallel of Munich, 1938, and Hitler's subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia. To do this, it has to cover up the fact that it is precisely Hitler's former backers who are now in the process (along with U.S. big business) of trying to make an economic colony out of Czechoslovakia all over again!
In turning their backs on East Germany and welcoming West Germany into their country, the Czech restorationists were in fact as conciliatory to the present German imperialists as many of their bourgeois parents were to Hitler in 1918. This is perfectly well understood in Washington. But since U.S. 1918. This is perfectly well understood in Washington. But since U.S. imperialism has been building up the German neo-Nazis as a bulwark against the Soviet Union (in spite of all their talk about "coexistence"), such a policy on Prague's part is highly desirable in Washington.
The Czech restorationists thus endangered the actual existence of the German Democratic Republic and seriously weakened the whole East European bulwark against the imperialist West.
There are now cries of outrage from the slaughterers of Vietnamese peasants against the armed intervention by the Warsaw Pact countries. The outrage is largely because their neo-Nazi junior partners have had a setback.
The role of U.S. money, capital, culture and diplomacy in Eastern Europe has been far greater than that of West Germany, although it is the latter country that may profit more directly and economically, at least for the moment, from counter-revolution in Czechoslovakia.
At one time, when Czechoslovakia was truly revolutionary, the U.S. put a tight economic noose around it and led an international boycott campaign against it. The U.S. bankers also froze Czechoslovakian funds which were in the United States at the time of the February 1948 workers' revolution. But during the present counter-revolution all kinds of financial assistance are openly discussed.
For the past year or so, the popular phrase in Washington has been "building bridges to the East." This is a favorite slogan of the strongly anti-communist Johnson himself. The slogan does not refer to coexistence as such, but to imperialist economic penetration of Eastern Europe in particular. The idea of unfreezing the Czech assets here, for example, is part of that "bridge building."
Many trade items have now been taken off the "strategic" list. Discussion on loans and other economic aid has begun. The Voice of America has been toned down to de-emphasize the antagonism of social systems and put the accent on harmonious collaboration. Restorationist trends inside the Communist parties were encouraged by the more sophisticated imperialists as the best method of penetrating the East, instead of "liberating" it at tremendous cost.
This bridge-building policy was really the European version of the new China policy that Fulbright tried to launch last year. The idea was to appeal to the revisionists in the Chinese leadership, to appeal to their hunger for privileges and profits, to wean them away from the genuine communism of equality -- from the idea of communes, from the building of the socialist future.
The Chinese people, led by Chairman Mao Tse-tung, defeated this campaign by means of the Proletarian Cultural Revolution. They aimed against privilege and profits and incidentally prevented the U.S.-sponsored counter-revolution.
This was better and more effective than the present military intervention into Czechoslovakia -- because it aroused the masses, clarified the issues and created a popular basis for continuing the historic struggle for world socialism.
But the liberal bourgeoisie in the United States is especially outraged at the Warsaw Pact intervention because they thought they could win by infiltration and subversion ("building bridges") in Eastern Europe what they cannot win by force in Vietnam. Their present hysteria is not only a calculated new anti-Soviet campaign, but also a roar of pain and frustration that presages the ultimate doom of both their anti-popular wars and their anti-communist maneuvers.
"Democracy" and democracy
It is a monstrous lie to describe any movement that introduces inequalities in wages and salaries -- as the present Czechoslovak "reform" movement does -- as a movement toward democracy.
Only if one accepts the U.S. imperialist definition of democracy as the right of billionaires to be parasites and the right of the people to slave for them can one consider this in any way "democratic."
It is true that the Czech newspapers have been "free" to attack the Soviet Union, and intellectuals have been "free" to demand more Western culture and less sacrifice for the socialist allies and for countries struggling for their liberation.
But there has been little freedom to advocate more socialism, more hostility to U.S. imperialism, more material aid for Vietnam, more workers in the universities, or more intellectuals in the factories. On the contrary, there is a lynch campaign against anyone who advocates such things in Czechoslovakia.
Of course, genuine democratic reforms are always in order. But the kind of reforms that U.S. imperialism applauds in Czechoslovakia as democratic are hardly the kind that would thrill genuine revolutionaries. The democracy of the oppressed differs from the democracy of the oppressor as a Black freedom fighter differs from a cop.
Proletarian democracy is not only desirable; it is mandatory -- for the accomplishment of the socialist transformation of humanity. And it cannot be said that proletarian democracy prevailed or flourished to any great degree under the previous Czechoslovak regime. The point, however, is that the tendency of the Dubcek counter-revolutionaries was and is away from proletarian democracy, not toward it.
There is no such thing as abstract democracy for all classes, and there never was. It is true that in the cracks and crevices of bourgeois democracy the proletariat may by diligent and heroic efforts occasionally express its own point of view. But as soon as it oversteps the bounds of safety for the rule of the master class, such "democracy" is always abrogated -- by the police, the National Guard, the clamping down of martial law, or in extreme cases, a military dictatorship.
The word "democracy" is well understood in the United States (except by the more gullible of middle-class intellectuals) to be a synonym for American capitalism and The American Way of Life. And in that sense it is indeed democracy that has been coming to Czechoslovakia. That is why Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and the most extreme right-wing reactionaries are overjoyed about it.
Only the unrelenting prosecution of the proletarian revolution and the world conquest of power by the proletariat will, by abolishing imperialism, root and branch, institute the true democracy of the masses' unhampered rule, and the true freedom of women and men to do what they want without doing harm to their neighbor.
In the meantime it is not a question of democracy in Czechoslovakia at all. And only dupes and liars can say it is. It is a question of which class is going to prevail, and it is a question of which social direction Eastern Europe will take in the immediate future. The situation in Czechoslovakia is temporary and episodic, with the fundamental classes and basic antagonists only battling in the form of indirect agents, so to speak. But their identity is quite clear upon closer inspection. One only needs to know the difference between capitalism and socialism, between oppressor and oppressed, to understand that Dubcek was really leading the capitalist counter-revolution.
Warsaw Pact intervention
August 23, 1968 -- Excerpts from Cuban Premier Castro's speech in defense of Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia are given below. In his speech, Premier Castro criticized the Soviet leadership for not giving more aid to defeat the counter-revolution -- in other countries as well as Czechoslovakia. But he did not, as some social democrats contend, give merely "critical support" to the action of the Red Armies.
Right here, I wish to make the first important affirmation: we considered that Czechoslovakia was moving toward a counter-revolutionary situation. Toward capitalism and into the arms of imperialism.
So this defines our first position in relation to the specific fact of the action taken by a group of socialist countries. That is, we consider that it was absolutely necessary, at all cost, in one way or another, to prevent this eventuality from taking place. ...
Discussion of the form is not, in the final analysis, the most fundamental factor. The essential point to be accepted, or not accepted, is whether or not the socialist camp could allow a political situation to develop which would lead to the breaking away of a socialist country, to its falling into the arms of imperialism. And our point of view is that it is not permissible and that the socialist camp has a right to prevent this in one way or another. I would like to begin by making it clear that we look upon this fact as an essential one. ...
A real liberal fury was unleashed; a whole series of political slogans in favor of the formation of opposition parties began to develop, in favor of open anti-Marxist and anti-Leninist theses, such as the thesis that the Party should cease to play the role which the Party plays within socialist society and begin to play the role there of a guide, supervising some things but, above all, exerting a sort of spiritual leadership. In short, that the reins of power should cease to be in the hands of the Communist Party.
The revision of certain fundamental postulates to the effect that a socialist regime is a transition regime from socialism to communism, a governmental form known as the dictatorship of the proletariat. This means a government where power is wielded in behalf of one class and against the former exploiting classes by virtue of which in a revolutionary process political rights, the right to carry on political activities -- whose objective is precisely to struggle against the essence and the raison d'etre of socialism -- cannot be granted to the former exploiters.
A series of slogans began to be put forward and in fact certain measures were taken such as the establishment of the bourgeois "freedom" of the press. This means that the counter-revolution and the exploiters, the very enemies of socialism, were granted the right to speak and write freely against socialism.
As a matter of fact, a process of seizure of the principal information media by the reactionary elements began to develop. As regards foreign policy, a whole series of slogans of open rapprochement toward capitalist concepts and theses and of rapprochement towards the West appeared. ...
On many occasions the imperialists have publicly stated what their policy is in relation to the socialist countries of Eastern Europe. And in Congress, in the press, they always talk about encouraging the liberal tendencies and even about promoting, of making available, some selective economic aid and of using every means of contributing to creating an opposition to socialism there. The imperialists are carrying out a campaign, not only in Czechoslovakia, but in all the countries of Eastern Europe, even in the Soviet Union.
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