World Perspectives 2018: II. Excurse: Different Types of Wars in the Present Period and Consequential Revolutionary Tactics





22.          As wars become an increasingly crucial feature of the present historic period, it is urgent for revolutionaries to have a clear understanding of their nature and the consequential tactics. It should be evident for Marxists that the issue of war is a litmus test for every organization. Trotsky once remarked accurately: The problem or war, next to the problem of revolution, is the touchstone of a revolutionary party. Here no kind of equivocation is permissible. The principled decision is clear beforehand: defensism and defeatism are as incompatible as fire and, water. It is necessary to say this first of all. This truth must be taught the members of the party.[1] As the RCIT has already dealt with this issue repeatedly, we will summarize here the results of our analyses and conclusions, apply them to recent developments as well as deal with some specific new issues which have gained importance in the past years. [2]


23.          Basically, we can differentiate between the following different types of wars in the present period:


i.              There are conflicts between imperialist states. Such conflicts can have the character of chauvinist campaigns, diplomatic tensions, trade wars, and finally, they can escalate into open wars as we have seen in two World Wars in the first half of the 20th century. As the RCIT has shown in its past World Perspective documents as well as specific case studies, we have seen in the past decade an increasing number of inter-imperialist tensions as a result of the decline of the US as the absolute hegemon and the rise of China and Russia as new imperialist powers. [3] Examples for this type of conflict are the present tensions between the US and Japan vs. China in East Asia [4], between the US vs. Russia in the Middle East [5], or between the US and the EU vs. Russia since the beginning of the civil war in the Ukraine in 2014. [6]


Lenin often quoted the famous dictum of Clausewitz: “War is merely a continuation of policy by other means.” This means that Marxists don’t change their approach to the ruling class in wartimes, hence, the working class must fundamentally oppose its imperialist government equally in times of peace as well as in times of war.


A particular case, as we have explained in our special pamphlet, has been the conflict between China and India during the military stand-off in summer 2017. While India is not an imperialist state but rather a semi-colony, its sheer size (it will soon become the most populous state in the world), it’s role as a regional power in South Asia as well as its increasing close alliance with US and Japanese imperialism (as well as with Israel) give the conflict between the two powers a reactionary character on both sides. [7]


ii.            There are also aggressions up to open wars of imperialist states against oppressed people. Examples for this are the U.S. occupation wars in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003, Russia’s war against the Chechen people, or Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people including its recent three wars against Gaza (2009, 2012, and 2014). Other examples are the military intervention of the US in Somalia as well as in Northern and Western Africa or of European powers in Mali and other central African states. In the same category falls the US aggression against semi-colonial states like North Korea and Iran. An example for such a conflict of national oppression which has not been transformed into a civil war yet is the oppression of the Catalan people by the Spanish state or that of the Uygur people by China.


In recent years we increasingly have seen cases where imperialist powers collaborate with allied regimes of semi-colonial states and equip and finance military forces composed mainly of soldiers from these countries. Examples for this are the Ethiopia-led AMISOM which acts, in close collaboration with US and EU imperialism, as an occupation force in Somalia fighting against Al-Shabaab; the recently constituted G5 force in Western Africa which shall fight against Islamist “terrorists” under French command; or various Iraqi special units which have been trained and equipped by the U.S. Such forces basically resemble the colonial troops of the British, French as well other Empires. While the troops might come from semi-colonial countries, they act as imperialist proxies and their wars have to be characterized as imperialist wars.


A specific case is the Kurdish PYD/YPG in Syria. While it has its historic origin in the struggle of the Kurdish people for national self-determination, its reactionary Stalinist-nationalist leadership has isolated itself from the liberation struggle of the Syrian workers and oppressed. Instead they collaborated with the Assad regime and later became the main proxy for US imperialism in Northern Syria (under the name of “Syrian Democratic Forces”). Today the SDF acts as foot soldiers for US imperialism.


iii.           Likewise, there are wars of national oppression which are launched by semi-colonial capitalist states against weaker nations. The causes for this can be a long-standing relationship of national oppression (e.g. Serbia vs. Kosova; Turkey, Iran and Iraq vs. their Kurdish minorities; Iran vs. the Arab minorities: Ethiopia vs. Eritrea until 1993), or the interest of the semi-colonial state to suppress an ongoing revolutionary process, or the willingness of the semi-colonial regime to serve the interests of an imperialist powers. Naturally such causes don’t exclude each other but can exist in combination. The aggression of the Saudi-led alliance, with the support of US imperialism, against the Yemeni people since 2015 or of the Iraqi regime against Iran in 1980/81 are examples where the latter two causes exist in combination.


iv.           There are civil wars of the workers and oppressed against a reactionary dictatorship. The most prominent actual example for this is the ongoing Syrian Revolution which started in March 2011 and which, despite many setbacks, is still continuing. The civil war in Libya against the Gaddafi regime between February and autumn 2011 is another example as well as the popular uprising in Yemen which started in autumn 2014 and which transformed into a civil war in spring 2015 driving out the pro-IMF Hadi government.


v.             Finally, there are conflicts up to wars between capitalist semi-colonial states. Currently such wars can erupt at any given moment between Saudi-Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) vs. Iran, between Saudi-Arabia and the UAE vs. Qatar (with Turkey’s support for the latter), or between Egypt (in alliance with Eritrea) vs. Ethiopia and Sudan (with Turkey’s support for the latter).


We can expect a substantial increase of this type of wars. The reasons for this are the following:


We are living in a period where there exists no longer a single absolute imperialist hegemony (the U.S.) which acts as a kind of guarantor of the existing world order. Quite the opposite, there are now several imperialist Great Powers which are all rivaling to increase their sphere of influence at the cost of the others. Such circumstances allow the ruling classes of some semi-colonial states a certain, albeit limited, degree of independence and room for maneuver.


Furthermore, as we have elaborated in our book The Great Robbery of the South, the development of modern capitalism has led to a substantial shift of capitalist value production to countries of the South. These developments have created a number of advanced semi-colonial states which have become, or which desire to become, regional powers.


The combination of these factors has created a situation where conflicts up to open wars between non-imperialist states are becoming an increasingly important feature of the present world situation.


This type of wars is the most complicated issue for Marxists. This is so also because, as Trotsky emphasized, “the bourgeoisie of colonial and semi-colonial countries is a semi-ruling, semi-oppressed class.[8] This means, it is a capitalist class which is fundamentally dependent on and subjugated to imperialism but which has also, to a certain degree, contradictory interests to the Great Powers.


Taking these factors into account we can say that the bourgeoisie of a given semi-colonial state can act in such conflicts as a proxy for the interest of imperialist powers. Given the semi-colonial character of the bourgeoisie of such countries, they are dependent on and subordinated to the imperialist powers. However, while they can not act independently of imperialist powers in the long run, this does not necessarily mean that they have no independent interests at all or that they would have no limited independent room for maneuver at all. The capitalist class of the given state often attempts to utilize the conflict between the imperialist powers and to create a space to expand their influence. The Erdoğan regime in Turkey is an example for this as it tries to play off Russia, the U.S. and the EU. Likewise, the Egypt regime of General Sisi, and even the Saudi Kingdom to a certain degree, tries to build closer relations to Russia despite their traditional dependence on the US.


Furthermore, because of its “semi-ruling, semi-oppressed” character, the bourgeoisie of semi-colonial countries can also, for a limited period and only to a certain degree, come under the pressure of the popular classes in extraordinary cases when it faces a serious confrontation with an imperialist power or a war with another state.




The Importance of Dialectic




24.          However, as always, it is crucial to approach analyzing a war in a dialectical way, i.e. looking at each case concretely. [9] One must bear in mind that the schema elaborated above must not be viewed mechanically. First, there can be combinations of different types. The Saudi assault on Yemen served Riyadh’s interests to liquidate a revolutionary process as well as to reduce Iran’s regional influence and, in addition, it also serves the Western imperialist interests to control the strategically important entry to the Red Sea. These waters are key to international trade — 4 million barrels of oil pass through the strait every day. Second, during the course of a conflict its character can change to a certain degree or even completely. For example the democratic liberation war of the Syrian people against the Assad dictatorship also got an anti-imperialist character since 2015 when the Putin regime sent Russian military in support of the regime. Russia’s massive military intervention in Donbass in summer/autumn 2014 transformed the character of the Ukrainian civil war into a reactionary proxy war on both sides.


There was a similar case in the early 1980s. In 1980 Iraq’s Baath regime attacked Iran because it wanted to liquidate the revolutionary process which opened up there in February 1979. Later, when the Khomeini regime consolidated its power and smashed the workers and youth vanguard by summer 1981, the character of the war changed. While the war, in the first phase until summer 1981, was reactionary on the side of Iraq but a legitimate defensive war on the side of Iran, this was no longer the case when the revolutionary process in Iran had ended. From that moment on, the war took a reactionary character on both sides. Hence, revolutionaries defended Iran in the first period, but changed their tactic towards defeatism on both sides by summer 1981. [10]


25.          In fact, such combinations of different types of war are often the case in one way or another. For example the Saudi war of aggression against the Houthi-led resistance in Yemen has also an element of a proxy war. While the Saudi-led alliance is openly backed by US imperialism (as well as several European powers), the Houthis receive support by Iran and hence indirectly by the later allies, imperialist Russia and China. Likewise, there have been phases in the past where sectors of the Syrian rebels fighting against Assad received some modest support by US imperialism. Or, to give some historic examples as we have explained in past documents, the Chinese national resistance forces fighting against Japanese imperialism in 1937-45 received material support by the U.S. The same was the case with the Yugoslavian partisans during World War II. This however, did not transform these forces into proxies of Anglo-American imperialism. The task of Marxists is to analyze each conflict in a concrete way and to view these different factors in their totality, i.e. to understand reality as a "concrete totality, a unity of the universal and the particular" – to use the words of the distinguished Soviet philosopher of the 1920s, Abram Deborin. [11]


26.          What are the tactics of revolutionaries in these different types of wars? Fundamentally, Marxists derive their assessment of a war not from the issue of the ideologies of the parties involved or who fired the first shots but from an analysis of the class interests involved. Lenin remarked accurately: ”It seems to me that the most important thing that is usually overlooked in the question of the war, (…) is the question of the class character of the war: what caused that war, what classes are waging it, and what historical and historic-economic conditions gave rise to it.[12]




Revolutionary War Tactics




27.          As we have explained many times, the position of orthodox Marxists in such wars are the following.


i.              In the case of conflicts between imperialist states (or such special cases like the China-India conflict in summer 2017) revolutionaries can not support either side. We take the same approach on issues like trade agreements (e.g. RCEP, TPP) or Brexit. Both sides are reactionary forces striving to increase the exploitation and oppression of the working class and the poor. The maxim that “foreign policy is everywhere and always a continuation of domestic policy” is not only true for the bourgeoisie but for the proletariat too. Therefore, Marxists apply the Leninist program of revolutionary defeatism. This means, as the RCIT summarized in its program: “In imperialist wars, we reject any support for the ruling class. We advocate the defeat of the imperialist state. Our slogan is that of Karl Liebknecht: “The main enemy is at home”. Our goal is to transform the imperialist war into a civil war against the ruling class.” [13] Hence, in conflicts between the U.S. vs. Russia and China or between China vs. Japan, revolutionaries must oppose both sides and stand for their defeat.


Contrary to the hysteric denunciations of reformists against the program of revolutionary defeatism, Marxists insist that it is only the application of the program of class struggle in peace times in wartime. When workers in a given enterprise go on strike this has an undoubtedly negative consequence for the profit of the owner. Hence, it helps the competitors to gain an advantage. Naturally, this is not reason for the workers to hold back their struggle. The policy of revolutionary defeatism is the generalization of such an approach to the collective capitalist class in wartime.


In our opinion, it is impossible to build the new Revolutionary World Party without a clear understanding of the imperialist nature of all Great Powers, and the importance of the rivalry between them as a driving force of the world political situation. Hence, Marxists oppose the approach of many reformists and centrists (e.g. Stalinists, Bolivarians) which can characterized as bourgeois geopoliticism. Such an approach divides the world in the main enemy, usually it is U.S. imperialism, on one side and all its opponents on the other side. This shall justify a policy of support for those powers in opposition to the main enemy. Usually this results in social-imperialist support e.g. for China and Russia against the U.S.


Such bourgeois geopoliticism has nothing to do with authentic Marxism! Lenin and the Bolsheviks unambiguously condemned all forms of social-imperialism – irrespective of whether they support their “own” or another bourgeoisie: „Social-chauvinism is advocacy of the idea of “defence of the fatherland” in the present war. This idea logically leads to the abandonment of the class struggle during the war, to voting for war credits, etc. In fact, the social-chauvinists are pursuing an anti-proletarian bourgeois policy, for they are actually championing, not “defence of the fatherland” in the sense of combating foreign oppression, but the “right” of one or other of the “Great” Powers to plunder colonies and to oppress other nations. The social-chauvinists reiterate the bourgeois deception of the people that the war is being waged to protect the freedom and existence of nations, thereby taking sides with the bourgeoisie against the proletariat. Among the social-chauvinists are those who justify and varnish the governments and bourgeoisie of one of the belligerent groups of powers, as well as those who, like Kautsky, argue that the socialists of all the belligerent powers are equally entitled to “defend the fatherland”. Social-chauvinism, which is, in effect, defence of the privileges, the advantages, the right to pillage and plunder, of one’s “own” (or any) imperialist bourgeoisie, is the utter betrayal of all socialist convictions and of the decision of the Basle International Socialist Congress.[14]


ii.            In the case of aggressions of imperialist states (or their proxies) against oppressed people we stand for the defeat of the imperialist side and for the military victory of the oppressed people. To quote again our program: “In military conflicts between imperialist states and Stalinist degenerated workers states or semi-colonial peoples and states, we call for the defeat of the former and for the victory of non-imperialist side. We defend the latter, even if they are led by bourgeois (e.g. Saddam Hussein), petty-bourgeois (e.g. Hamas in Palestine, Taliban in Afghanistan) or Stalinist-bureaucratic (e.g. the Communist Party of Cuba) forces. At the same time we desire to break away the working class and the oppressed from these forces and to win them for an independent class policy through the application of anti-imperialist united front tactic. This means putting demands on the existing leaderships for a common struggle against imperialism under our own banners.[15] Hence, in the wars of the US against the Afghan or the Iraqi people, of Russia against the Syrian or the Chechen people, of Israel against the Palestinian people, of European imperialists against resistance forces in Africa, of imperialist proxies against the popular resistance in Somalia or in Syria, revolutionaries stand for the defeat of the imperialist camp and for the military victory of the oppressed people. The RCIT takes the same position in the case of the U.S. aggression against North Korea or Iran.


Here, too, do we strongly renounce all those reformists and centrists who refuse to support unconditionally the struggle of the oppressed people against the imperialists. Groups like the CWI or the IMT usually justify their refusal to apply the anti-imperialist united front tactic in the national liberation struggle of Argentina against Britain in 1982, of the Afghan people against the Western imperialists or of the Palestinians against Israel by referring to the reactionary leadership of the forces at the leadership of theses struggles. Contrary to them the RCIT stands on the principles of Trotsky’s Fourth International: “The struggle against war and its social source, capitalism, presupposes direct, active, unequivocal support to the oppressed colonial peoples in their struggles and wars against imperialism. A ‘neutral’ position is tantamount to support of imperialism.” [16] We categorically denounce these reformist and centrist forces which do not fully support the struggles and wars of the oppressed people against the imperialist masters as social-imperialist agents. To put it into the words of Leon Trotsky: “Whoever directly or indirectly supports the system of colonization and protectorates, the domination of British capital in India, the domination of Japan in Korea or in Manchuria, of France in Indochina or in Africa, whoever does not fight against colonial enslavement, whoever does not support the uprisings of the oppressed nations and their independence, whoever defends or idealizes Gandhism, that is, the policy of passive resistance on questions which can be solved only by force of arms, is, despite good intentions or bad, a lackey, an apologist, an agent of the imperialists, of the slaveholders, of the militarists, and helps them to prepare new wars in pursuit of their old aims or new.” [17]


iii.           In the case of wars of national oppression which are launched by semi-colonial capitalist states against weaker nations, the RCIT stands for the defeat of the former and the defense of the latter. Our approach is similar like elaborated above (in the case of an aggression of imperialists against oppressed people). Naturally, it can be the case that such a war becomes a subordinated element in a wider war, e.g. between two imperialist powers. (This was e.g. the case with Austria-Hungary’s war against Serbia which became a subordinated element in the imperialist World War I.)


iv.           We take a similar position in civil wars of the workers and oppressed against a reactionary dictatorship. Hence we stand for the defeat of the Assad regime in Syria and support the ongoing liberation struggle despite our sharp political opposition to the petty-bourgeois nationalist and Islamist leadership forces standing at the top of these struggles.


The last three types of war named here are wars of liberation, not wars of oppression. This is why socialists must take a side and support the working class and the oppressed people. “The revolutionary proletariat distinguishes only between wars of oppression and wars of liberation. The character of a war is defined, not by diplomatic falsifications, but by the class which conducts the war and the objective aims it pursues in that war. The wars of the imperialist states, apart from the pretexts and political rhetoric, are of an oppressive character, reactionary and inimical to the people. Only the wars of the proletariat and of the oppressed nations can be characterized as wars of liberation (...)[18]


v.             As we said above, conflicts between capitalist semi-colonial states are highly complicated issues. In principle we oppose the bourgeoisie of all semi-colonial states equally. Hence, in a conflict which exists in a vacuum, we would take a revolutionary defeatist position, i.e. standing for the defeat on both sides. However, in real life things don’t exist in a vacuum and hence each conflict has to be analyzed concretely. In the case of a power struggle let us say between the ruling classes of Egypt and Ethiopia about access to the Nile water resources, we would, under normal circumstances, support neither side. The same could be said, in principle, about a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.


But, as we have seen repeatedly, there can be additional factors which make such issues more complicated. For example in the case of the Saudi/UAE aggression against Qatar since summer 2017, we defended the later despite the fact that formally all sides are semi-colonial states. However, as we explained in our literature, under the concrete circumstances the Saudi aggression had a thoroughly reactionary character since it was attacking Qatar because of the later support for legitimate resistance movement fighting against imperialist occupation and dictatorship (e.g. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas, Syrian rebels or the Afghan Taliban), because of its support of the TV channel Al-Jazeera as well as because of its opposition to the US, Israeli and Saudi war drive against Iran. In short, the Saudi aggression against Qatar was part of Riyadh’s efforts to completely liquidate all obstacles for the establishment of a stable and thoroughly pro-US and pro-Israeli counter-revolutionary order in the region. [19]


In general, it is urgent for revolutionaries in such cases to take into account the state of the class struggle in the concerned countries as well as the role of the imperialist powers (both old and new) in it. Likewise, one must study any significant changes in such developments. As we mentioned above, we have seen the example of the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s where such changes affected the tactics of Marxists. In short, revolutionaries will have to analyze each war in its concrete totality, its different factors and their relationship to each other and elaborate out of this the correct tactical conclusions. As we said somewhere else: “This is why a conflict or war has to be studied in all its aspects, with the general, fundamental, as well as its secondary, particular, characteristics. Such an approach must follow Lenin's dialectical method to study a thing or a process ‘from appearance to essence and from less profound to more profound essence.[20]


vi.           Another highly complicated issue are wars with a combined character, i.e. broader wars which includes two or more wars of different character. World War II is a well-known example for this. Here one had wars between imperialist powers which were reactionary on both sides (e.g. Germany, Italy and Japan vs. UK/USA/France). But there were also wars between imperialists and colonial and oppressed people (e.g. China vs. Japan, Indian people vs. UK, partisan wars in Germany occupied countries) as well as between imperialist Germany and the USSR, a Stalinist-led degenerated workers state. In such cases, Marxists supported the anti-imperialist side. A similar situation can also take place in the near future. As we have dealt with this issue in detail in a special essay, we will only summarize our methodological approach at this point. [21]


In the concrete situation today it is possible that a similar situation could emerge in a broader war in the Middle East. There could be a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia and, in parallel, between Israel and Hezbollah and/or Gaza. While the US would support, in such a scenario, the Israeli/Saudi camp, Russia and China would probably side with Iran. Let us assume that neither the U.S. nor Russia intervene directly in the war but confine themselves to delivering supply and logistic support. Here we would have a contradictory situation, or to be precise, we would be presented with dialectical contradictions of a highly contradictory imperialist world and regional order.


In such a scenario, the war of Israel against Gaza or Hezbollah would be utterly reactionary and Marxists would stand for the military victory of the Palestinian or Hezbollah side. However, the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia would have a different character. Here we would have a reactionary war on both side and Marxists would take a defeatist position in relation both to Iran as well as to Saudi Arabia.




Relationship between War and Revolution




29.          We conclude this chapter by emphasizing the close relationship between war and revolution. A major war forces the ruling class to mobilize the resources of the society, taking away many people from their families (and sending a certain number back in coffins), to wage a hysterical campaign of chauvinism and ideological manipulation, etc. All this creates huge risks and particular in cases where the ruling class ends up as looser of the given war (i.e. all the sacrifices of the masses were in vain), a war can provoke mass unrest at home and even revolutionary situations. This is why the Leninist approach of transforming a reactionary war into a civil war against the own ruling class is not only correct from the view point of the historical interests of the proletariat but relates also to a realistic possibility. This is why Lenin spoke already during the Russo-Japanese war in 1904/05 about “the great revolutionary role of the historic war”. [22] Later, when he elaborated the full Marxist program for wars, he explained the necessity to relate the revolutionary war tactics to the objective explosive situation which a major war creates and to utilize it to advance the class struggle: “The war has undoubtedly created a most acute crisis and has immeasurably increased the distress of the masses. The reactionary nature of this war, and the unblushing lies told by the bourgeoisie of all countries to conceal their predatory aims with “national” ideology are, on the basis of an objectively revolutionary situation, inevitably creating revolutionary moods among the masses. It is our duty to help the masses become conscious of these moods, deepen them and give them shape. This task finds correct expression only in the slogan: convert the imperialist war into a civil war; all consistently waged class struggles in wartime and all seriously conducted “mass-action” tactics inevitably lead to this. It is impossible to foretell whether a powerful revolutionary movement will flare-up in connection with, during or after the first or the second imperialist war of the Great Powers; in any case it is our bounden duty to work systematically and unswervingly in this direction.[23]


30.          In fact, the whole history of class societies confirms that major wars are pregnant with revolutions. To name but a few historical examples we refer to the Jacquerie, the great peasant uprising in northern France during the Hundred Years War after the ruling class suffered a number of defeats against the English; the heroic uprising of the Russian peasants led by Yemelyan Pugachev in 1774/75 at the end of the long and exhausting Russo-Turkish war; the humiliating defeats of the despised Qing dynasty in the two Opium Wars against the Western Great Powers which gave birth first to 110 local peasant insurrections in 1841-49 and finally to the powerful uprising of the religious social-revolutionary Taiping popular movement – one of the longest and bloodiest civil wars in human history (1850-64); and then we have the well-known examples of modern history with the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71 leading to the Parisian Commune, the Russo-Japanese war in 1904/05 which led to the first Russian Revolution in 1905-07, World War I which resulted in the Russian October Revolution 1917 as well as a number of other workers uprisings in 1918/19 and finally World War II which provoked civil wars and revolutionary developments in various countries (e.g. China, Korea, Greece).


31.          This does not mean that every war will result in a revolutionary uprising of the popular masses. But these examples demonstrate that major wars which mobilize the resources of the whole economy, which effect all classes of the society and which influence the whole political life and hence the consciousness of the masses, that such events provoke massive social and political instability and hence can lead to revolutionary ruptures. As we are convinced that chauvinism, military tensions and wars are becoming an increasingly defining feature of the capitalist society, we think that such a development towards militarism will in the end also break ground for sharp class struggles and revolutionary explosions.


[1] Leon Trotsky: Defeatism vs. Defensism (1937), in: Trotsky Writings 1937-38, p. 86

[2] See e.g. RCIT: On the 100th Anniversary of the Outbreak of World War I: The Struggle against Imperialism and War. The Marxist Understanding of Modern Imperialism and the Revolutionary Program in Light of the Increasing Rivalry between the Great Powers, Revolutionary Uprisings, and Counterrevolutionary Setbacks, 25.6.2014,; Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, Vienna 2013, chapter 12 and 13,; Yossi Schwartz: Marxism and War, 30.1.2018,; Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011,; Michael Pröbsting: Dialectics and Wars in the Present Period. Preface to Rudolf Klement's Principles and Tactics in War,

[3] See in addition to the books and pamphlets mentioned in other footnotes in this chapter:

Michael Pröbsting: Is Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism Incompatible with the Concept of Permanent Revolution? 5 May 2015,; Michael Pröbsting: The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014,; Michael Pröbsting: China’s Emergence as an Imperialist Power, Summer 2014,; Michael Pröbsting: Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power. On the Understanding and Misunderstanding of Today’s Inter-Imperialist Rivalry in the Light of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism, August 2014,; Michael Pröbsting: Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Summary of the RCIT’s Analysis, 28 March 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22,; Michael Pröbsting: More on Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Reply to Chris Slee (Socialist Alliance, Australia) and Walter Daum (LRP, USA), 11 April 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 22,; Michael Pröbsting: Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014, Special Issue of Revolutionary Communism No. 21 (March 2014),; Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4,;

[4] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: No to chauvinist war-mongering by Japanese and Chinese imperialism! Chinese and Japanese workers: Your main enemy is at home! Stop the conflict on the Senkaku/Diaoyu-islands in the East China Sea! 23.9.2012, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 6,

[5] See on this the numerous documents and articles of the RCIT on the Syrian civil war which are collected in a special section on our website:

[6] See e.g. the RCIT’s pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism. An Analysis of Recent Developments in the Ukrainian Civil War and their Consequences for Revolutionary Tactics, 22.October 2014, in: Special Issue of Revolutionary Communism No.28, More statements and articles on the civil war in the Ukraine can be read in the following section of our website:

[7] See on this the RCIT’s pamphlet Michael Pröbsting: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? 18 August 2017, Revolutionary Communism No. 71,

[8] Leon Trotsky: Not a Workers’ and Not a Bourgeois State? (1937); in: Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-38, p. 70

[9] The German philosopher Hegel liked to say – and the Marxist classics referred to this insight many times – that “the truth is always concrete”.

[10] See e.g. Workers Power: The Iran-Iraq war: Generalised Defeatism - not the Marxist method (1980),

[11] Abram Deborin: Lenin als revolutionärer Dialektiker (1925); in: Nikolai Bucharin/Abram Deborin: Kontroversen über dialektischen und mechanistischen Materialismus, Frankfurt a.M. 1974, p. 125 (out translation)

[12] V. I. Lenin: War and Revolution (1917) ; in: CW Vol. 24, p. 398

[13] RCIT: The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto, p.62,

[14] G. Zinoviev / V. I. Lenin: Socialism and War (1915) ; in: LCW Vol. 21, pp. 306-307 (our emphasis)

[15] RCIT: The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto, pp.62-63

[16] Resolution on the Antiwar Congress of the London Bureau (1936), in: Documents of the Fourth International, New York 1973, p. 99

[17] Leon Trotsky: Declaration to the Antiwar Congress at Amsterdam (1932), in: Writings 1932, p. 153

[18] Leon Trotsky: Declaration to the Antiwar Congress at Amsterdam (1932), in: Writings 1932, p. 153

[19]Michael Pröbsting: Qatar-Gulf Crisis: Another Offensive of the Arab Counter-Revolution, 10 June 2017,

[20] See Michael Pröbsting: Dialectics and Wars in the Present Period. Preface to Rudolf Klement's Principles and Tactics in War, June 2017, Lenin’s quote is taken from: V.I. Lenin: Conspectus of Hegel’s Book The Science Of Logic. Section Three: The Idea (1914); in: LCW 38, p.221

[21] See Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011, Autumn 2012,; Yossi Schwartz and Max Bonham: On the new Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran, 26.12.2017,

[22] V.I. Lenin: The Fall of Port Arthur (1905), in: LCW 8, p.53

[23] V.I. Lenin: Socialism and War (1915), in: LCW 21, p.313