China: the Struggle Within: No Intervention in Bangla Desh!

No Intervention in Bangla Desh!

December 1, 1971

The struggle of the people of Bangla Desh for self-determination is in danger of being overshadowed by the antagonisms of the great powers which have become involved as parties to the present military conflict.

As Indian and Pakistani troops clash along the border of Bangla Desh ("East Pakistan"), the United States is diplomatically juggling with both sides, while supporting Pakistan militarily. Washington claims to have ended its arms shipments to Pakistan, but even its own press is not convinced. It is also not precluded that U.S. imperialism may wind up providing arms to both sides in the hopes of generating a suicidal struggle while exploitation, and the most profitable trade of all -- in arms -- goes on.

U.S. imperialism's objectives are to continue to exploit the millions of near-starving peasants and workers in India, Pakistan, and Bangla Desh. They would prefer doing this without becoming directly involved in the war, particularly since they are still trying to chart a new course to compensate for the great losses suffered in Southeast Asia and the consequent shift in consciousness among the masses in the U.S., who now strongly oppose any further military adventures.


But the other element of U.S. strategy vis-a-vis the Indian subcontinent is that Washington wants nothing more, despite all its pious protestations to the contrary, than to see the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union drawn into a war against one another. This has been the aim of imperialist diplomacy ever since the development of the two large socialist countries, for the U.S. realizes what a terrible setback such a course would mean for the world socialist revolution, both in terms of the morale of the workers and oppressed, and for the material advantage this would give the imperialists. If the two great socialist powers were tied down in a war, even one fought by proxy, Wall Street's hands would be freed to intensify its rapacious search for profits in Asia, the Middle East, and all over the globe.

Certainly the foreign affairs analysts of the U.S. imperialist ruling class must feel that the possibility of provoking such a confrontation is more likely in the present situation than at any previous juncture in history, since People's China is supporting the Yahya Khan government, while the Soviet Union has signed a military pact with the Indian bourgeoisie.

It is particularly unfortunate for the whole revolutionary movement that China is now doing what they have correctly attacked the Soviet revisionists for doing over many years: aligning themselves with a belligerent bourgeois regime instead of with the masses who are in revolt. Nor can these alliances be said to favor either the Pakistani or Indian masses, who are decidedly unenthusiastic about the sabre-rattling carried out by their respective ruling classes. Even the Indian workers and peasants who sympathize with the Bengali liberation struggle show no desire for a war between India and Pakistan.


What began last spring as a self determination struggle of the oppressed nation of Bangla Desh could still be the spark of a wider revolutionary struggle on the whole subcontinent. We believe, as was stated in our analysis of August 17, 1971, that all communists and progressives must attempt to further the revolutionary struggle of the workers and peasants of the whole area, which is today taking place within the framework of a struggle for self-determination. To support the bourgeoisie of either India or Pakistan is to liquidate the class struggle, inflame national antagonisms, and undermine the possibility of a united front of all the poor and oppressed against imperialism and domestic bourgeois reaction.

It must be added, however, that the Bengali people are correct in trying to get aid wherever they can find it. But India's motives in giving such aid must be assessed from the point of view of the Indian bourgeoisie, who are not interested in self-determination for the Bengali people but want to stifle the class struggle that threatens to erupt throughout the whole Bengali nation, including the millions within India's borders. India is feverishly trying to take command of the rebellion, in collaboration with the conservative Awami League, to prevent the revolutionary and socialist elements in the people's liberation forces from determining the course of struggle.

It is a fundamental understanding of Leninism that every oppressed nation must have the right of self-determination; that to deny that right is only to postpone, perhaps indefinitely, the hour when the propertyless classes within the nation can take their destiny in their own hands and begin the class struggle against the domestic ruling class for their total emancipation.

The bourgeoisie in Bangla Desh began the struggle for independence, but the history of similar struggles in the epoch of imperialism has shown that nowhere has the national bourgeoisie been able to carry the fight for independence from imperialist domination and for true national sovereignty through to its completion. Only the oppressed masses of workers and peasants can fulfill this historic task in a struggle for the socialist reconstruction of society; but in Bangla Desh today, as in many other oppressed nations around the world, the ultimate class struggle that will put the international reorganization of society on the order of the day makes its first appearance in the form of a self-determination struggle against very real and pervasive national oppression.

For those who live and struggle here inside the imperialist monster itself, our responsibilities to the Bengali people and to the consciousness of American workers must first be to expose consistently the role of U.S. imperialism. Nixon is not a mediator desiring peace on earth; rather he is seeking to fan the flames of a war that can strengthen the U.S. economy through lucrative arms sales while it threatens to embroil Washington's two greatest rivals for world hegemony in a suicidal conflict.

Finally, let it be said that the United Nations can play no progressive role in this war. The UN has shown itself again and again, in Korea, the Congo, and in its consistent failure to condemn U.S. aggression, to be dominated by imperialism. (China's admission does not alter this fact. Nor does it make intervention correct; the fate of the masses of the Indian subcontinent must be settled by them alone. Intervention by either capitalist or socialist countries would set back the revolutionary movements of the workers and peasants.)

To invite in the UN in whatever role is only to invite in Nixon and Co. behind a "peace-loving" facade. We must unmask the representatives of a monopoly capitalism whose strength in Asia, as everywhere, ultimately rests on their success in exploiting the workers and oppressed people at home.

Main menu Book menu