August 4, 2018


1. Marxist-Leninist Theory of Nations, National Relations and the Internationalization of Social Relations 

Our era is characterized by the revolutionary transition from capitalism to socialism on an international scale. This characterization is to be seen in the radical break that has been taking place in the historically formed socio-economic and political structures and in the restructuring of the most diverse areas of social relations. Within the framework of this international process a qualitative transformation has been taking place in the social nature of the nation, national, relations and inter-state contacts and new principles of international relations have been consolidating themselves. 

The only theory that offers a scientific explanation of the far-reaching changes that have been taking place in the world, that serves as a guide to action in the liberation struggle of the working class and all the other working people and that reveals the historical fates of nations and national relations is Marxism-Leninism. Adopting a materialist position in its approach to history Marxist-Leninist theory reveals the origins of the variety of the nations and nationalities of the world today, shows the lawgoverned character of the changes in their nature 29 and mutual relations and gives a scientific analysis of the causes, character and consequences of the internationalization of production and social relations as a whole, i.e. of the process whose development leads not only to a drawing together but, in the final analysis, to a merger of all nations, nationalities and ethnic groups in a future communist society. 

Mankind today has only just begun to move in this direction. Having passed some considerable distance down the road of historical development, the human race now comprises a vast number of large and small communities, which either have taken or are still taking shape, in the form of either nations, nationalities or ethnic groups living in multi– national states or nation-states, in sovereign countries or those still fighting for their own independence. There are today in the world more than one thousand nations and nationalities as well as a considerable number of national minorities, ethnic groups and tribes. More than nine-tenths of the nations, nationalities, national and ethnic groups belong to multi-national countries. The socialist states comprise some 250 large and small nations and nationalities, while in the industrially developed capitalist countries there are approximately one hundred indigenous nations and nationalities. Today a growing role in the making of history is played by the nations and nationalities of the developing states of Asia, Africa and Latin America, part of which have been drawn into the non-capitalist path of development known as socialist orientation. 

But just what exactly are all these communities that either have already been formed, or are still in the process of formation? What precisely do we mean by nations and nationalities? 

A nation as a stable community of people is characterized by an historically formed community of material and cultural activity linked together through a common language and common territory as well as the distinctive features of their national character, mentality and culture. 

Forming gradually over the course of long historical evolution, nations first began to make their appearance with the development of capitalism and the establishment of the economic relations that characterize it. The material and cultural attributes of each nation, its distinctive features and national awareness are the concentrated product of the activity of a succession of generations in a given social community and of the whole path of social evolution traversed in interaction with other nations. 

A nationality is also an historically formed linguistic and territorial, as well as to a certain extent an economic and cultural community. Seen in its historical context, a nationality is in many respects the precursor of a nation. But the process by which a nationality becomes a nation is not the same everywhere, while the formation and development of nations and nationalities has its specifics in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, in Asia and Africa and in North and South America. For this reason the process of development is continuing even today among both nations and nationalities. More often 31 than not the objective possibilities for the economic, political and cultural development of a given nationality are limited compared to those of a given nation. 

Nations and nationalities, which today comprise the overwhelming majority of mankind, are not the only forms of human community and they are far from being the earliest. Though some nationalities only became nations with the development of capitalism, these nationalities themselves were historically preceded by tribes or tribal communities which were largely based upon clan relationships among their members. 

It is, however, material conditions, i.e. the level of development of productive forces and the character of production relations, that determine, on the one hand, the formation, development and transformation of a given historical community and the character of ties within this community, and, on the other, the nature of the ties which emerge between the various historically formed communities. For clan ties to be weakened in the course of tribal evolution, the development of the most important, economic ties was essential; for a nationality to become a nation, the growth of production had to overcome its narrow framework and bring about a stable division of labour and the formation of a single market, and for nations to associate with each other on a permanent basis, this association had to become a vital necessity. “The relations of different nations among themselves,” Marx and Engels wrote, “depend upon the extent to which each has developed 32 its productive forces, the division of labour and internal intercourse." [32•1

At the base of human development at all its stages lies progress in material production. It is precisely improvement in this sphere and the growth of productive forces in conditions of the large-scale industrial production that was first created by capitalism that led to the socialization of the process of production first within individual countries and then, extending beyond these borders, determined the internationalization of production on a world scale. It is this material process which lies at the root of the formation of nations and the development of stable international relations. 

In considering the internationalization of production as the material basis for the development of national and international relations Marxism– Leninism insists on seeing the essence of this process and the national relations connected with it, which class is the originator of this process and what nations and national relations are formed in the organization of this process by the various social classes. The internationalization of the process of production is the objective law in the development of largescale industrial production which manifests itself in the gradual formation of elements of a single world production. Its main motive force is the internationalization of productive forces which 33 signifies the fact that as the productive forces of individual countries grow they to an increasing degree acquire such a character when their creation, functioning and development are only possible and effective given the utilization of international as well as national factors and conditions. Such factors and conditions include the availability of the necessary raw and other materials, financial and labour resources, access to markets and the utilization of scientific and technological achievements. 

Internationalization as an objective process made its first appearance during the rise of capitalism and the formation of the bourgeois nations. Marx and Engels showed already in the nineteenth century that the development of productive forces, the growth of the economic potential of capitalist society, the deepening international division of labour and the expanding markets and the spheres for the application of capital were breaking down national isolationism and internationalizing material production and culture. This conditioned the economic and political interdependence of peoples and countries. “The more the original isolation of the separate nationalities is destroyed by the advanced mode of production, by intercourse and by the natural division of labour between various nations arising as a result, the more history becomes world history." [33•1

The internationalization of production has made mutual ties between nations and nationalities an 34 everyday part of their lives and turned national relations into an important part of public life. 

National relations are an essential part of modern social relations. Broadly speaking, they show the character of those ties which are formed both within each nation and nationality and between them. The former are intra-national and the latter are interethnic. Intra-national relations are relations between the various social groups in a given community. Relations of this type affect the existence and development of the given community. Inter-ethnic relations, on the other hand, are relations between nations and nationalities considered as subjects within a multi-national state or relations between the nations of different countries. Inter-ethnic relations are not identical with international relations for two reasons: first, a given country may be composed of several nations, and, secondly, international relations, as a rule, are largely conducted in the form of inter-state relations, although they don’t just amount to these, since included together with inter-state and interethnic relations are inter-party connections, links between other social organizations and collectives and international tourism, etc. 

The bourgeois approach to contemporary nations and their interconnections is based on a universal scheme of national development which takes no account of the socio-economic or class aspects of the social life of a given nation. They View a nation only in the abstract, as a kind of supra-class entity, and the national factor in international relations they reduce to mere nationalism and “hegemonism”, 35 etc. This sort of view is one-sided and has no scientific grounding. 

Under capitalism the productive forces are developed according to the interests of the bourgeoisie as the dominant class, which in its quest for profit exploits not only the working people of its own nation but those of other nations as well. Therefore, in capitalist society we have capitalist nations and the internationalization of production is carried out in the interests of the bourgeoisie, while national relations are based upon standards that are beneficial to the bourgeoisie. 

The capitalist nations are by their nature socially and economically antagonistic. The inevitable growth of contradictions in the capitalist economy, the polarization of social relations and class political and economic interests and the transformation of the dominant imperialist bourgeoisie in such a society into the enemy not only of the workers’, but of all the democratic movements and the opponent of the genuinely progressive ideals of national development constitute the laws of the dynamics of the social organism of a capitalist nation. The high degree of centralization of capital intensifies the tendency among the monopoly bourgeoisie to join forces against the working class, world socialism and the national liberation movement. 

The internationalization of production and social life as a whole that has been carried out by the bourgeoisie has taken on antagonistic forms, with the working people being subjected to the omnipotence of capital, with some countries developing 36 rapidly at the expense of others and with fierce competition resulting in the decline of certain industries in countries where the local exploiters were not strong enough to withstand their powerful competitors. 

Within the framework of capitalism and in full conformity with the nature of this social structure with all its social, economic and political antagonisms national relations have always been determined at all stages by the desire of the bourgeoisie to exploit not only their own people, but those in other countries as well. The history of nations and national relations in the capitalist world has always been characterized by the limitless drive for increased profits, by wars of conquest, by the creation of huge colonial empires, by the merciless suppression of national liberation movements, and by the struggle for spheres of influence and investment. The exploitation and oppression of many of the peoples of Asia, Africa and South and Central, America as cheap sources of raw materials set them back a whole epoch and delayed their development into sovereign nations. 

The socio-economic relations of capitalism, characterized as they are by the exploitation of man by man, have been spread to cover all aspects of national, inter-ethnic and international relations and have led to the system of domination, subjection and inequality that exists between nations and nationalities. 

As a result throughout the past and contemporary history of capitalism two questions have been urgent: the social question, or that of doing away 37 with the exploitation of man by man, and the national question, an aspect of the former, the question of liberating the oppressed nationalities and nations of the world, overcoming their backwardness and ensuring equality for all nations. It cannot be stressed enough that the national question that has been engendered by capitalism with all its concomitant vices (exploitation, backwardness and enmity and alienation among peoples) remains vitally relevant today. With the further aggravation of the capitalist contradictions the national question is now revealing new sides and taking on new forms, while the growing antagonisms of exploitative society are increasingly penetrating relations between the developed capitalist states and the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and appearing in different countries. The unevenness of political development of various parts of the multi-national capitalist states has led to an intensification of national antagonisms and conflicts in Great Britain, Belgium, Canada and a number of other countries. Contemporary migrations have resulted in sharp frictions between people of different nationalities that live in France, the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland, and racial conflicts in the United States of America show no signs of abating. Bourgeois ideologists and politicians deny the social basis of the conflicts and problems that are associated with inter-ethnic relations and show considerable versatility in their bids to neutralize and disorganize the forces of the national liberation movement both within the multi-national states and throughout the world. But history has 38 shown that capitalism is unable to solve the national question. 

Under socialism there is no place for the exploitation of man by man, or for the oppression of one nation by another. Here productive forces are developed under the guidance of the working class and its political vanguard, the Marxist-Leninist party, and the aim of this development is the good of the working people of all nations and nationalities. Therefore in the course of the revolutionary transition from capitalism to socialism due to the complex multi-faceted processes, a radical transformation takes place in the character of a nation, it changes from capitalist to socialist and a qualitatively different, socialist type of the internationalization of production occurs, while national relations are rebuilt on fundamentally new principles. 

The experience first of the Soviet Union and later of the other socialist countries has revealed that there are certain general ways and conditions in the law-governed process that shapes socialist nations and nationalities and brings about a new type of national relations. This experience affirms that the way to freedom and genuine humanism in national relations lies through a socialist revolution, which by abolishing exploitation and oppression creates the political and economic prerequisites and conditions for the all-round development, not only of the working classes, but of nations. 

The socialist nation (or nationality) that replaces the former bourgeois nation differs radically from it in respect of its economic basis, its social and class 39 structure, its intellectual make-up and its historical role. It is based on the production relations of a new, socialist mode of production and consists of friendly classes, with the leading role being played by the working class which expresses most fully the national interests of the working people as well as their international aspirations and aims. The socialist nation is characterized by the gradual development of national interests as the common interests of the nation as a whole, for they are formed on the basis of a community of the basic economic and political interests of all the classes and social groups engaged in social production. In the socialist nation national consciousness develops under the influence of an integral socialist ideology, of Marxist-Leninist ideals of the struggle for communism. 

In other words, socialism changes the dialectics in the relationship between the national and the social and the national and the class. By ridding the nation of the socio-economic antagonisms engendered by capitalism, which split the capitalist nation into two, [39•1 the new system guarantees the transition from a unity that only comes from national community to a unity that is based on the social community of the working people. The social and political aspects of this process consist in the elimination of the social and class antagonisms in the bourgeois nation and the transition to the socially homogenous 40 structure and friendly relationship between the classes that characterize the socialist nations. 

The stable socio-economic foundation for the establishment of unity among the classes in each socialist nation (or nationality) is the state power seized by the working class under the guidance of the Marxist-Leninist party, the socialist mode of production and a close alliance between the working class, the cooperative peasantry and the people’s intelligentsia in the interests of developing new economic and other social relations. On this basis nationalism and chauvinism become obsolete and an internationalist consciousness and friendly relations develop between the working people of various nationalities and countries. 

The internationalization of production and social life as a whole under socialism is a complex and lengthy process, but it is not one that contains antagonisms, for in it there are, no nations that are trying to bring about their own development through the exploitation and oppression of others, nor are there any classes bent on the subjugation of other peoples. On the contrary, the rapid progress of all nations and nationalities and the levelling up of their social, economic and cultural development serve to guarantee the successes of each nation and each people. 

As distinct from capitalist society where national relations are characterized by antagonisms, under socialism they develop on new principles, as a new type of national and international relations based on the effected right of all nations to self-determination, 41 on equality and sovereignty and on solidarity and mutual aid. These relations express the essence of the new social, economic and political structure and the socialist ideological mainstays of nations. By liquidating the exploiter classes socialism gets rid of the social and class obstacles to progressive national development and of the social sources of discord among nations and nationalities. It also gives rise to new objective factors in the sphere of economy and politics which eliminate the basis of conflict between nations, stimulate their convergence and overcoming national barriers, and contribute to a real solution to the national problem. 

Today, when the essence of the present era, the era of transition from capitalism to socialism, manifests itself in the adoption by more and more countries of the socialist path of development, when mankind’s past in the form of the world capitalist system can be seen side by side with mankind’s future, the developing world system of socialism, the problems of national progress and national relations, far from losing their relevance, acquire new features. 

In the first place the internationalization of production and of social life as a whole has reached a new stage. The scientific and technological revolution has immeasurably accelerated the internationalization of productive forces on a world scale and this has given rise in each system to analogous processes and problems such as urbanization, the growth of communications, migration and problems arising from the need for raw materials and environmental 42 control. The scientific and technological revolution has also accelerated the internationalization of intellectual life, expanded the forms of contact among nations and provided the right conditions for mutual enrichment and convergence of national cultures. 

International integration is the conscious and joint attempt by a number of similar countries to adapt their independent economic and political structures to the growing internationalization of production and social life as a whole by organically coordinating and interconnecting these structures so as to form a single structure. 

Within the world capitalist system internationalization and integration take on antagonistic forms, which are conditioned by private capitalist ownership of the means of production. Here the trend towards convergence of nations occasioned by these processes is continually subjected to a whole complex of counter-trends and is accompanied by sharp manifestation of nationalism, chauvinism, etc. 

Taking due regard for the internationalization of economic and political life under capitalism the monopoly bourgeoisie and the leading capitalist powers create various economic and political alliances and communities and set up customs and other regional unions. These international unions meet the objective demands of economic internationalization. But in practice they frequently infringe upon the national sovereignty and national interests and rights of the weaker members. 

This serves to intensify the contradictions between 43 the economically developed capitalist states, the “strong” and the “weak” nations, and between imperialism and the peoples of the developing countries. By increasing the concentration of capital internationalization under capitalism also increases the unevenness of economic and political development and encourages reactionary tendencies in imperialist politics. 

Internationalization and integration within the framework of the world socialist system, however, have a fundamentally different social and economic base—social ownership of the means of production and a planned system of national economies. This brings enormous advantages to the process of internationalization in the new society. 

The working class, its party and its state bodies take due account of the internationalization of economic and political life under socialism and consider that the resultant break in national isolationism brings about rapid social progress for all cooperating nations and the accumulation and increasing consolidation of common international features in various fields of international contacts and in the daily activity and social profile of peoples. 

The objective process of economic and social internationalization in the socialist countries raises the integrationary role of new subjective factors. These include the growing ideological and political solidarity of the working people of the various nations and fraternal states, a solidarity that is based on a community of interests and aims in the building of socialism and communism and on a common Marxist– 44 Leninist ideology, and the various kinds of work carried out by the communist and workers’ parties, state bodies in the socialist countries and public organizations towards strengthening friendship and allround cooperation between the peoples of these countries and removing all elements of enmity, inequality and alienation from relations between them. 

Of immense importance in this respect is the international economic integration that is practised by the socialist countries—members of the GMEA. This integration has regard for the objective laws of the development of productive forces and production relations in the new social formation and determines ways towards the inter-state socialization of production and the exchange of material and cultural values. Internationalization and integration strengthen the sovereignty of each state irrespective of its size, promote the growth of the scientific and industrial potential of countries and the joint utilization of natural resources, and provide extensive opportunities for the growth of productive forces, science and culture. 

The processes of internationalization and integration that have taken place in the socialist countries are indissolubly linked with the establishment of socialist internationalism in relations between the socialist states, an internationalism which is based firmly on respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all nations. 

The positive experience accrued by the multi– national Soviet Union and the countries that make 45 up the world socialist system bear out Marx’ and Engels’ thesis that the liquidation of class antagonisms will result in an end to national antagonisms. 

But the gradual formation of nations and national relations of this new type and the extension of interstate ties between the socialist countries have not been without their difficulties and contradictions in the form of manifestations of great-power chauvinism and local nationalism. The peoples of the socialist countries did not start to build their new societies simultaneously, and world socialism includes certain states where the new society is still not completely victorious. Furthermore, these many different nations are all at different political, economic and cultural levels. There are both objective and subjective reasons why socialist principles in national construction and in the international contacts that socialism promotes have not always been adhered to consistently. Occasionally we note a trend towards the artificial unification of national minorities that are historically separate and have different socialist homelands. This indicates failure to give priority to a social and class approach to national problems. Then again, there is the one-sided emphasis on specifically national characteristics in the development of the different socialist countries and the viewing of this development in isolation from the international tasks and requirements of social progress as well as other manifestations of national parochialism. 

Manifestations of this kind, on the one hand, undermine the solidarity among the working people of 46 the socialist nations and their positive capabilities as builders of a new society, and, on the other, put a break on national development, isolating one nation from fruitful cooperation with other nations and peoples. All this shows that the task of establishing a new type of inter-state relations and of combining the national with the international is far from simple. But given that the ruling parties pursue a correct Marxist-Leninist policy there can be no objective antagonisms between the nations, peoples and states of the socialist world, even though there do exist differences and contradictions among them. 

Correct solutions to the problems that arise in inter-ethnic relations and in the development of cooperation between the socialist nations require the guidance of Marxist-Leninist teaching and the principles of internationalism. 
* * * 


[32•1] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “The German Ideology”. In: Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 5, 1976, p. 32 (here and elsewhere Progress Publishers, Moscow). 

[33•1] Ibid., pp. 50–51. 

[39•1] See: V. I. Lenin, “Socialism and the Peasantry”, Collected Works, Vol. 9, 1965, p. 307. 

2. Proletarian Internationalism as a Category of Marxism; the Origins and Fundamental Characteristics of Socialist Internationalism 

The development of the revolutionary working class movement and the successes it has achieved in the struggle for social emancipation, national independence, democracy and socialism are indissolubly linked with the practical implementation of the principles of a scientific Marxist philosophy and of internationalism, which is its integral part. Marx’ and 47 Engels’ slogan: “Workers of all countries, unite!”, which sums up in the briefest possible way a fundamentally new, internationalist world outlook and a new approach to the conditions and means for promoting a revolutionary movement, characterizes today a whole system of views and practical principles for pursuing the struggle to liberate all the working people, bring about the victory of socialism and communism and establish a new type of international relations throughout the world. History continues to affirm the immense strength of internationalism and its not only unfading, but increasingly important meaning for the world, for socialism and for the whole revolutionary working-class movement. 

Internationalism is a system of views, ideological and political guidelines and practical measures taken by the international working class. It expresses the community of basic interests among workers of all countries and the need for unified struggle by the working peoples of all nations and nationalities for freedom from exploitation and for the victory of socialism and communism throughout the world. Even before Marxism internationalism made itself known in the mutual support and joint action by the working class in a number of countries in Western Europe. Since the emergence and spread of Marxism in the working-class movement and right up to the present day internationalism has been active as a multistructural category, which expresses primarily an essential feature and area of Marxist philosophy, and is also a definite policy, a principle governing the relations between the national contingents of the 48 revolutionary working-class movement. “Bourgeois nationalism and proletarian internationalism,” wrote Lenin, “—these are the two irreconcilably hostile slogans that correspond to the two great class camps throughout the capitalist world, and express the two policies (nay, the two world outlooks) in the national question." [48•1 Internationalism is an historical category: while its two interconnected aspects ( philosophy and politics) held good, the content and structure of this category as understood by MarxismLeninism have not remained unchanged. Particularly far-reaching changes took place, of course, following the establishment of socialism, the formation of the world socialist system, in the process of forming the community of fraternal states. 

The multiple structure of internationalism, which signifies both part of proletarian philosophy and the principle of relations between the national contingents of the revolutionary working-class movement, requires understanding of the interconnection between these parts and of the differences between them. The former should be considered in the context of the general philosophy of the working class and the second in the framework of the practical relationships and real interaction between the national contingents of the working class and its organizations and parties. At the same time it is important to take account of the historical development of 49 internationalism and to be aware of the different shades in the categories of both proletarian and socialist internationalism. 

The latter circumstance is particularly relevant today, since bourgeois ideologists and opportunists in the communist movement frequently state that socialist internationalism is a kind of “regional theory" devised to promote the selfish interests and adapted to suit the particular relations and “discipline” that are prevalent in the communist and workers’ parties in the socialist countries. Thus the critics of socialism try to set the communist parties of the socialist countries and those of the non-socialist countries against each other, and, what is most important, endeavour to cast doubt on the gains of socialism and foist the idea upon the working class that victorious socialism has brought nothing new to the internationalist relations between the working class of different countries and between the nations and nationalities of the world. In their renunciation of this kind of falsification Marxist-Leninists hold to a belief in the international unity of ultimate goals and in a community of basic interests of the whole working-class movement both in the socialist and in the non-socialist world. They consider that socialist internationalism is not something special, or “regional”, but rather it is the same thing as proletarian internationalism, only practised under those conditions and with that content when it functions as a principle in inter-ethnic and inter-state relations under socialism. 

Proletarian internationalism developed from the 50 experience of the working class and since the advent of Marxism has been functioning as part of this scientific philosophy and a principle of action linked with it. As part of the philosophy of the revolutionary proletariat, it shows up the international position of the working class and its international role in the liberation struggle. At the same time proletarian internationalism also characterizes the position of the revolutionary proletariat in the relationship of the working-class movement of different nations and countries. It is here that it becomes the most important principle in the relations between the revolutionary workers of all countries and their parties. This principle reflects and expresses the international community and identity of the fundamental interests among the proletarians of the world in their struggle against capitalism and for the victory of socialism and communism, and as such it requires unity of action by the working class of all nations and countries. 

As the revolutionary working-class movement broadened and gained success proletarian internationalism began to take on new characteristics, although its essentials remained the same. As a result, proletarian internationalism as both an international philosophy and a principle in the relations between the national working-class contingents acquired an increasingly complex structure. To clarify the direction of this development we must consider how the objective foundations of proletarian internationalism and its content and structure have changed. 

From the earliest beginnings of the revolutionary 51 working-class movement in the capitalist countries the objective foundations of proletarian internationalism were rooted in large-scale capitalist industry and in the internationalization of economic and social life that it gave rise to. [51•1 They consisted in the fact that the proletariat held a similar position in all the capitalist countries, that there was a community of basic interests among all the national contingents of the working-class movement and its chief allies, the exploited working people, and that the proletariat held identical immediate objectives and long-term goals in the form of a struggle against capitalism and all forms of exploitation and oppression and a fight to win political power for the working class. “Because the condition of the workers of all countries is the same, because their interests are the same, their enemies the same, they must also fight together, they must oppose the brotherhood of the bourgeoisie of all nations with a brotherhood of 52 the workers of all nations." [52•1 In the days when the revolutionary working-class movement was led by the 1st International and consisted only of the working class of the European capitalist countries and America there were numerous examples of effective proletarian solidarity and international support for the struggle of the working class of different countries, waged in the form of strikes, economic and political demands and revolutionary demonstrations by the working-class movement of the other countries. 

With the expansion of capitalism beyond the bounds of the European and North American continents, with the formation of a working class in the dependent countries and colonies and finally with the victory of the working class first in one country and then in several others the objective foundations of proletarian internationalism underwent certain changes. All the above-mentioned factors retained their importance as objective foundations for proletarian internationalism in the working-class movement of the capitalist countries, but in those countries with pre-capitalist forms of production or where capitalism is as yet underdeveloped, the situation is quite different. Here the objective conditions for struggle are somewhat different from those obtaining in the highly developed capitalist countries. The workers 53 of India and Britain, Pakistan and France, Nepal and the Federal Republic of Germany are faced by different kinds of enemies and different immediate objectives in their struggle, but in both the developed capitalist and the developing countries the main opponent to social progress is imperialism. In those countries where the working class brought about a socialist revolution and established their power many of the above-mentioned conditions (the domination of internationally-linked capital and the exploitation of the working class by the bourgeoisie, etc.) became a thing of the past and the international community of basic interests of the workers of the socialist countries in their struggle for the victory of socialism and communism came into prominence. But here too the main opponent of the new order remained the bourgeoisie. 

Therefore the main content of proletarian internationalism as an outlook in national relations and as the principle of solidarity of action by the working class of all countries in their struggle against capitalism and to achieve the ultimate aims of the workers’ liberation struggle, the building of socialism and communism, remains unshaken. The difference in the conditions under which the working class carries on its activity in different countries (such as, for example, the USSR and the USA, Britain and India, Spain and Nepal) does not shake the objective international foundations of proletarian internationalism as such and, for this reason, can in no way serve as justification for any deviation from it. This very difference in conditions is, after all, the result of 54 expanding the international struggle of the working class of all countries for liberation and for the victory of socialism and communism and of the success achieved by it. 

Today, when voices are heard from those alleging the difference in the life and conditions of struggle for the working class of the socialist, capitalist and developing countries that proletarian internationalism has become obsolescent and that it should either be replaced by “regional solidarity" or dissolved in the “general democratic cooperation" of all progressive forces, and that a “new internationalism" without frontiers should be created, it still remains true that proletarian internationalism is essentially the ideology and practice of class solidarity among the workers and the other working people of all countries in the struggle to achieve their class aims. Today, Lenin’s words are no less relevant than they were when he said: “There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is—working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one’s own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle; this, and only this, line, in every country without exception." [54•1 Proletarian internationalism remains the selfless struggle of the working class and its party for “the utmost possible in one country for the development, 55 support and awakening of the revolution in all countries". [55•1

It is obvious that it would be wrong to consider that the differences in the concrete conditions of the struggle of the working class, the expansion of the social base of proletarian internationalism and the new aspects of its content could in any way be ignored. It is also quite obvious that these differences in conditions should be considered from many angles. In particular it is important to take them into account when considering the ways by which a proletarian internationalist consciousness should be developed in the working-class movement of the capitalist and socialist countries, when considering the causes of its greater or lesser stability in the various links in the movement and the role in this process of the experience of the masses and the ideological work of the Marxist-Leninist party. It is particularly important to take account of the differences in conditions when considering the specific characteristics of proletarian internationalism: whether we are dealing with this in the case of countries where the working class has gained political power, or where it is still fighting for it, where it is opposed by the bourgeoisie of its own country or where foreign imperialism and local feudalism are its main enemies. 

When world socialism consisted of just the 56 revolutionary working-class movement in the capitalist countries (as it did in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) proletarian internationalism amounted to the awareness of a direct community of basic interests and the immediate and ultimate objectives of the national contingents of this movement, in so far as these interests and objectives coincided, in the main, directly. Taken as the principle of solidarity of action it implied consideration for the overall situation and for the national specifics of capitalist development in a given country as well as regard for the position and organization of the working class. 

But as the working-class movement began to expand both in the industrially developed capitalist countries and in the rest of the world and the workers became victorious and established their power in a number of states, a certain differentiation of objectives and interests in the workers’ movement was to be observed in the various countries. This was only to be expected given that the immediate interests and objectives of the working class differed according to whether it was based in a capitalist, developing and dependent or socialist country (which, of course, did nothing to affect the community of ultimate objectives among the working class of all countries). But this differentiation, once it had arisen through the expansion and successes of the working-class movement throughout the world, brought about changes in proletarian internationalism itself. It determined the objective dissimilarity of the process of understanding the essence of proletarian internationalism in 57 the various countries and regions of the world and revealed the need to take account not only of the general conditions and national specifics of capitalist development in individual countries but also of the different stages of social development in different groups of countries such as the capitalist, socialist and developing countries and the colonies. Thus it became important to determine a set of goals for the international working-class movement as a whole and to distinguish among them those of the greatest importance, since the difference in immediate objectives confronting the workers in various countries (socialist, capitalist, developing countries and the colonies) carries the objective danger that the common, basic goals of the international working-class movement might be replaced by the immediate objectives of the separate working-class movements in the various countries or regions. As a result of all this an objective dissimilarity appeared in certain aspects of the content of proletarian internationalism and in the practical activity of the various contingents of the international working-class movement that was based on it. Obviously the internationalist policies of the working class and its practical activity must be different in, say, an aggressor country and in a country that is the victim of aggression. But this kind of complexity, which has itself been conditioned by the success of the working-class movement can never mean an end to proletarian internationalism or the negation of its essence, which is the need for conscious joint struggle on the part of the working class of all 58 countries against capitalism and for the ultimate victory of communism. 

The structure of proletarian internationalism as a special category is determined by its content. In so far as it is both an essential part of Marxist theory and a principle for action, an analysis of this structure must be conducted on two planes. 

Seen as part of the Marxist world outlook on inter-ethnic and international relations, proletarian internationalism is an important aspect of the theory of the international position and international role of the working class in the liberation struggle against the exploitation of man by man and in the fight for the overthrow of capitalism, the establishment of socialism and the universal victory of communism. According to the stage ’of development of the international working-class movement as a whole and of its individual contingents the original content of proletarian internationalism is supplemented by a whole complex of other tenets which define proletarian internationalism concretely along two lines. First, with regard to the level of development of the whole revolutionary working-class movement. Here we consider questions that relate to the USSR (the country in which socialism was first made victorious) as the bulwark of revolutionary forces, and to the world socialist system as the decisive factor of social progress and the main achievement of the international working class. An evaluation of the importance of these phenomena affects the determination of the structure of the values and goals of the whole international working-class movement and of the 59 immediate duties of all its contingents in their daily revolutionary struggle. Secondly, with regard to the concrete conditions of struggle of individual national contingents of the international working-class movement. Here we must particularize not only the tenets that form the nucleus of proletarian internationalism, but also all the other above-mentioned tenets that form part of it and that are formulated with regard to the situation obtaining in each individual country, and the position of that country internationally. 

Bourgeois and opportunist ideologists try to foist upon the present-day communist movement a concept of internationalism that proceeds only from the specific interests of the working class in individual countries or in individual regions of those countries and does not take into account the community of basic interests of the working-class movement as a whole, the need for joint defence of its achievements and ignores the totality of the specific conditions in which the communist and working-class parties of the different countries carry out their policies. Marxist-Leninists reject pseudo-internationalism of this kind that is inflamed by nationalism and regional parochialism and betrays the essence of internationalism, the principle of unity of the working class of all countries in its struggle against imperialism and for its common goals. 

The practical efforts that are made by each national contingent of the working-class movement in the spirit of proletarian internationalism depend on their individual understanding both of what 60 proletarian internationalism really means and which stage of development the international revolutionary working-class movement as a whole has reached, and of their own place and role in this movement. Obviously therefore paramount importance must be given to a scientific Marxist-Leninist analysis of these problems. In connection with the work of the 1st International Marx wrote: “Since the various sections of working men in the same country, and the working classes in different countries, are placed under different circumstances and have attained different degrees of development, it seems almost necessary that the theoretical notions, which reflect the real movement, should also diverge. 

“The community of action, however, called into life by the Intern. W. Ass., the exchange of ideas facilitated by the public organs of the different national sections, and the direct debates at the General Congresses, are sure by and by to engender a common theoretical programme." [60•1 Today great significance in solving these tasks attaches to the international and regional forums of communist and working-class parties that are to work out common positions in interpreting the actual content of proletarian internationalism and in deciding which stage the international working-class movement has reached and determining the structure of its values and the order of its priorities. But at the same time, the fact that each party is entirely independent in 61 determining its internal and foreign policy does not alter its responsibility to the international workingclass movement for its own policies, for its defence of the basic interests of the whole communist movement and for its pursuit of an internationalist policy that is suitable to the specifics of its national conditions. 

Seen as a principle for action, proletarian internationalism constitutes a totality of guidelines and demands stemming from an internationalist understanding of the world and realized through practical steps. Essentially proletarian internationalism is a consciously formulated and consciously excercized principle that ensures unity and interaction between the national contingents of the international working-class movement, which help the working class optimally to utilize its potentialities in the struggle to achieve its revolutionary goals. 

Proletarian internationalism is an objective necessity for the international working-class movement. 

The totality of concrete actions that are based on the principle of proletarian internationalism does not remain unchanged, as is only to be expected since the development of the working-class movement and its success have expanded the possibilities and increased the duties of this movement. But despite all the changes of this kind the principle of proletarian internationalism remains a principle of solidarity in the struggle of the working class of each country in the name of the interests of the international working-class movement. Implementation of the principle of proletarian internationalism always 62 depends on the national contigents of the working class and its allies among the rest of the working people. The sphere of their activity, the direction of their unified struggle and the practical forms in which the principle of proletarian internationalism is manifested are always extremely varied and changeable. 

When the working-class movement only existed in the capitalist countries of Europe and North America, proletarian internationalism was seen in the united actions that were performed in defence of the common interests of the working-class movement in these capitalist countries irrespective of the national forms of its development. But today, when the international interests of the working-class movement have acquired a complex structure (as shown by the existence of the international interests of the working-class movement in the capitalist countries and the developing countries, the international interests of the integrated socialist countries and the international interests of the world socialist system) proletarian internationalism is a blanket concept embracing all forms of unified action by individual contingents of the working class in defence of the international and national interests of the revolutionary working-class movement. 

Proletarian internationalism is far from being manifested in every joint and unified action by the progressive social forces of the world. It is important to bear in mind which classes are conducting the joint struggle and whose objectives are being aimed at. Today, when the reactionary policies of 63 imperialism meet not only with a decisive rebuff from the revolutionary working class but also with opposition from other classes, including certain groups of the bourgeoisie, attempts are still made to dilute proletarian internationalism in the joint activities of various social groups on specific problems. MarxistLeninists cannot accept the rejection of the class approach to internationalism and cannot consider any joint activity by the working class and other classes, including certain groups of the bourgeoisie, on the international arena as a manifestation of proletarian internationalism. The essential characteristic of the latter must always remain solidarity among the working class and all the working people in the name of the ultimate goals of the revolutionary working-class movement as a whole. “The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole." [63•1 Today, these interests of the movement as a whole indisputably require the most varied forms of unified action. To be more precise, this in the first place means solidarity among all the national contingents 64 of the international working-class movement in the name of the common international interests of world communism, by which is meant the world socialist system, the successes of socialism in the countries that have chosen the non-capitalist path and the international revolutionary working-class movement in all the non-socialist countries. Undoubtedly proletarian internationalism also includes all similar actions in defence of the interests of the working class and socialism in any given country. Secondly, it means solidarity among the national contingents of the working-class movement in the developed capitalist countries in the name of the international interests of the working class in a given region or its revolutionary struggle in individual countries. Thirdly, it means solidarity among the national contingents of the working-class movement in the developing countries (or regions) in defence of the international interests of the working class of a given regions or its interests in a given country. Fourthly, it means solidarity among the communist and workers’ parties in the socialist countries in defence of the international interests of the working class of the non-socialist world and in defence of the interests of the working class in individual countries in the non-socialist world. “Solidarity among the working class and among Communists of all countries in the struggle for common aims, their support for the struggle for national independence and social progress, voluntary cooperation between equal, independent fraternal parties and the organic combination of the national and international interests of 65 the working people by these parties—this is proletarian internationalism in practice. It has always been and always will be a tried and tested weapon in the hands of the communist and working-class movement." [65•1

But when it is a matter of cooperation among the socialist nations and nationalities, of solidarity among the socialist countries, and their state bodies and governments aimed at helping those of their number that are victims of aggression or subjected to increased imperialist pressure, or at achieving the objectives of the socialist world or at promoting the interethnic, inter-state or international cooperation between these countries, or at drawing them closer together or achieving their integration, proletarian internationalism comes out as socialist internationalism. 

Socialist internationalism as a category in its own right came about with the conquest of political power by the working class, with the consolidation of existing socialism and the development of socialist relations between nations, nationalities and countries. From the very outset it has been a form in which proletarian internationalism has been implemented under working-class power. It expresses that part of the philosophy of the dominant working class, which characterizes its understanding of interethnic and international relations under socialism. At the same time socialist internationalism also 66 characterizes the practical position of the working class and its Marxist-Leninist vanguard in developing relations between the nations, nationalities and countries of the socialist world. And it is in this area that socialist internationalism has always been a most important principle of relations between nations, nationalities and countries under socialism, a principle reflecting and expressing the community of basic interests of the socialist nations and countries in their struggle against capitalism and for the victory of a new social system and demanding that all these nations and countries should act in solidarity. 

Socialist internationalism was first developed in post-revolutionary Russia when, with the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the form of Soviet power, fundamentally new relations began to be formed between nations and nationalities and between independent Soviet republics. With the formation in 1922 of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics socialist internationalism was further developed through the multi-form relations between the republics and between the nations and nationalities in the Soviet state. When the new system eventually extended beyond the framework of one country and a world socialist system was formed, a new stage began in the development of socialist internationalism. New internationalist relations began to be formed not only in relations between nations and nationalities within all the socialist countries, but also between these countries. 

Obviously the distinctive characteristic of socialist 67 internationalism as a particular form of proletarian internationalism consists primarily in the fact that its sphere of activity is the socialist world, the interethnic and international relations there and the understanding and formulation of the principles and norms of these relations. Here it is not a question of interaction and cooperation between the national contingents of the working class as social forces in opposition to the ruling power, but of interaction and cooperation between the national contingents of the working class, which themselves possess state power, control the economy and possess powerful material resources for implementing their policies. The principle of socialist internationalism as a distinctive form of proletarian internationalism governs relations between the working class of those countries where the workers have become the dominant class and where they control the whole life of the nation, and thereby acts not only as a regulator of relations within the international working-class movement between its separate national contingents (as, for instance, between the Soviet working class and the Hungarian working class), but also of relations between nations and countries (in this case between the USSR and Hungary) that are governed by the working class. This specific characteristic of socialist internationalism is also connected with the specific characteristics of the objective foundations of this category, its content and structure. 

The objective foundations of socialist internationalism are rooted not only in the large-scale industrial production and the internationalization of 68 economic and social life that this production gives rise to, but also in the fundamentally new social relations that exist in the socialist countries. Specifically the case in point is the common character of the political system, the power of the working class, and in time, with the building of socialism, of the social and economic system; the common nature of the basic interests of the working class in power and, in time, a community of interests of the newly formed socialist nations; the common main adversary—- imperialism, so long as it continued to exist side by side with the socialist world; the common main allies —the revolutionary forces in the non-socialist world and the community of tasks presented by the building of a new society and the ultimate goals of building communism. 

It is obvious that the objective foundations of socialist internationalism largely coincide or are analogous with the objective foundations of proletarian internationalism. This is only to be expected, since the former is essentially the practical implementation of the latter in a set of new conditions, i.e. the building of a socialist and communist society. But it is precisely these new conditions that lay their specific mark on the objective foundations of socialist internationalism. 

In the socialist countries the working class is not the exploited, but the dominant class. Consequently it does not have to wage daily and immediate struggle against the bourgeoisie, the exploiters, within the country, the struggle in which it had needed and constantly felt the international solidarity of the 69 working class of other countries. Of course, the working class in power is in continued receipt of support from the working class of other countries, but in many cases (like, for example, the various “Hands off!" campaigns in support of Soviet Russia, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam) this support is of a directly tangible character, whereas at other times it is given through the mediation of parties, state bodies and international agreements. Furthermore, in the socialist countries the working class is in power and therefore to strengthen its power and achieve its ultimate aims it must take account not only of its own interests but also the interests of all the other working people of the nation it belongs to and the interests of its country as a whole. The result of this is that in the mutual relations between nations and countries it represents not simply its own class interests but also the national and state interests, which are determined by a whole totality of factors and which have far greater specificity compared with that defining the characteristics of its interests as a component part of the international workingclass movement. Then again, the working class that has won power is faced with qualitatively new international duties. Not only it alone but the whole nation must be ready for any form of solidarity with the revolutionaries of other countries and provide the peoples of these countries that are conducting a struggle for liberation with material, military and any other aid, for internationalism demands that “a nation which is achieving victory over the bourgeoisie should be able and willing to make the greatest 70 national sacrifices for the overthrow of international capital". [70•1

The combination of all these circumstances at a time of growing national consciousness and under pressure from hostile class forces both from within and from without presents an objective danger of deviation from internationalist policies by ruling circles of the working class after it has gained power. This danger is increased by the fact that any deviation from internationalism in the direction of national parochialism, national egoism or great-power chauvinism does not immediately or directly affect the international stability of the said country. The overall alignment of the class forces in the presence of the world socialist system is favourable to all countries that comprise that system and makes it possible to implement in any one of them a policy of national egoism without any immediate negative consequences for the international position of that country, while within the country such a policy might even lead to the temporary strengthening of the ruling nationalistically-rninded circles who gamble on the rise of national consciousness among the masses and on the temporary advantages to be gained from such a policy. 

But the growth of this nationalist danger is counteracted by the objective law that governs the development of the new world—the internationalization of production and social life as a whole, which, 71 given the existence and opposition of two opposing world systems, dictates the necessity for deepening the international socialist division of labour, cooperation, convergence and unity of the socialist countries on the principles of socialist internationalism. For as a result of the growth of industrial production in the socialist countries and the internationalization of productive forces, it has become increasingly evident that the successful building of the new society and the development of the economy in any of these countries (particularly small ones) is impossible without the international socialist division of labour and without developing the relations of comradely cooperation and mutual aid among these countries. The internationalization of production and social life throughout the socialist world is an important and ever more effective catalyst of close cooperation and unity among the fraternal countries. 

Socialist internationalism, just like proletarian internationalism, has two aspects: it is both an essential part of the Marxist world outlook and a principle governing action. Lenin noted that “giving effect to united action on an international scale calls for both clarity of fundamental ideological views and a precise definiteness in all practical methods of action". [71•1

Essentially socialist internationalism consists in the recognition of a community of basic interests and aims of all nations and peoples in the socialist 72 countries and also in the principle, that comes from this, of their joint action and solidarity, that is to say action which turns these countries into a single community acting in concord in which the internal and international potentials of the new system are optimized for the achievement of its objectives and the attainment of short-term and long-term aims. 

Since the countries that join the world socialist system at this or that stage are at various levels of socialist maturity, the objective tasks facing them cannot be identical. They also have a differing structure of their economies. And this makes for certain differences both in the national state interests of the socialist countries and between their national state and international interests and leads to the appearance of non-antagonistic contradictions or differences on specific questions. 

The whole crux of socialist internationalism both as a philosophy and as a guiding principle for action consists in the fact that it is called upon to provide a scientific exposition of the relationship between the national and international under socialism, show the interconnection between national state interests and international interests, determine the structure of values and the order of priorities in internationalist relations between the fraternal countries and put forward a scheme of directives and standards to govern the practical activity of these countries with the result that the entire new social system is strengthened throughout. 

The structure of socialist internationalism is determined by its content. Since it is both part of 73 Marxist philosophy and a guiding principle for action, it is important to study its structure on these two main planes. 

As part of Marxist philosophy dealing with interethnic and international relations under socialism, socialist internationalism is an important part of the theory of the international position and role of the socialist countries and the whole world socialist system in the struggle for the liberation of the working people. It treats the relationship between the national and the international under socialism, the interconnection between state interests and international interests, the essence of socialist relations between nations, peoples and countries and the principles and norms which should govern these relations. 

Considered as a guide to action, socialist internationalism is not just a single normative principle, but a totality of standards, directives and requirements that stem from an internationalist approach to the world and that are implemented in practical measures. Thus it contains a number of more specific normative principles such as the principle of solidarity, the principle of all-round cooperation, the principle of gratuitous aid, the principle of mutual support and fraternal assistance and the principle of the joint defence of socialist gains. 

Just like the principle of proletarian internationalism, the principle of socialist internationalism is a consciously formulated and consciously exercised principle (a totality of standards and directives) that is designed to ensure unity among and 74 coordinated action between the socialist countries so that the world socialist system can optimally utilize its potential in the struggle to achieve its set goals. Socialist internationalism not only has objective foundations but is an objective necessity for mutual relations between the socialist countries. Only by accepting this principle can the working class successfully continue along the path of socialism in the various countries. 

The totality of specific action, however, that is carried out on the basis of socialist internationalism may also vary. As existing socialism extends its positions, the sphere for the implementation of this principle becomes similarly widened and it manifests itself in qualitatively new forms. But for all these changes the principle remains a principle of coordinated action in the interests of the building of socialism and communism and a principle of solidarity in the struggle of the socialist nations, peoples and countries that is waged in order to strengthen the internal and international positions of socialism. And the performer of such action, as is carried out in accordance with the principle of socialist internationalism as distinct from proletarian internationalism, is the socialist nations, peoples and countries in the persons of their governments, state and party organs and public organizations. 

With the establishment and expansion of existing socialism the principle of socialist internationalism has manifested itself in the mutual relations between the national contingents of the ruling working class, between the socialist nations and nationalities that 75 have been formed or are in the process of being formed and in the cooperation between the socialist countries. But it would be wrong to consider that internationalist cooperation is only designed to solve problems that specifically arise in the socialist countries. 

Socialist internationalism as the practical implementation of proletarian internationalism in conditions of socialism preserves its common roots which are the struggle for the ultimate goals of the international revolutionary working-class movement. “Socialist internationalism,” Leonid Brezhnev stressed, “means high responsibility for the destiny of socialism not only in one’s own country, but throughout the world. It is the highest respect for the national and historical specifics in the development of each country and determination to render the widest possible assistance to one another. It is a deep understanding of the historic role of the socialist countries in the world revolutionary process, in the cause of supporting the liberation anti– imperialist struggle of the peoples." [75•1

* * *


[48•1] V. I. Lenin, “Critical Remarks on the National Question”, Collected Works, Vol. 20, 1964, p. 26. 

[51•1] “The emancipation of labour,” Marx wrote, “is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists. . .” (K. Marx, “General Rules of the International Working Men’s Association”. In: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works in three volumes, Vol. 2, p. 19.) “Capitalist domination is international. That is why the workers’ struggle in all countries for their emancipation is only successful if the workers fight jointly against international capital" (V. I. Lenin, “Draft and Explanation of a Programme for the Social-Democratic Party”, Collected Works, Vol. 2, 1963, p. 109). 

[52•1] K. Marx and F. Engels, “On Poland”. In: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 6, 1976, p. 390. 

[54•1] V. I. Lenin, “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution”, Collected Works, Vol. 24, 1974, p. 75. 

[55•1] V. I. Lenin, “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky”, Collected Works, Vol. 28, 1965, p. 292. 

[60•1] The General Council of the First International 1868– 1870, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974, p. 310. 

[63•1] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party”. In: Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 6, p. 497. 

[65•1] 60th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Decision of the CC CPSU of 31 January 1977, Moscow, 1977, p. 22 (in Russian). 

[70•1] V. I. Lenin, “Preliminary Draft Theses on the National and the Colonial Questions”, Collected Works, Vol. 31, 1974, p. 148. 

[71•1] V. I. Lenin, “To the International Socialist Committee (I.S.C.)”, Collected Works, Vol. 21, 1974, p. 372. 

[75•1] L. I. Brezhnev, Following Lenin’s Course. Speeches and Articles, Vol. 2, Moscow, 1970, p. 424 (in Russian).