The Art to Conceal


The centrist IMT of Alan Woods about the Great Power rivalry between the US and China

by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 4 May 2021,




The RCIT has emphasized since a number of years that the rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers – the U.S., China, EU, Russia and Japan – is one of the most important issues in the current period. It is impossible to find a correct orientation in world politics without recognizing the imperialist character of these powers and the reactionary nature of their conflicts. [1]


Such a Marxist analysis is the precondition to take a revolutionary and internationalist stance in the political, economic, and military conflicts between these imperialist states. This means to equally oppose each of these powers (or their proxies), to advocate their defeat and to fight for the transformation of an imperialist war into civil war against the bourgeoise. [2]


It is characteristic for many pseudo-Trotskyist organizations that they utterly fail in elaborating such an analysis and in taking such a revolutionary defeatist position. The “International Marxist Tendency” (IMT), led by Alan Woods, is an example for such an organization which adheres to the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky … in words but not in deeds. It has, among others, a long history of centrism like its opportunist work within social democratic parties since several decades or its refusal to oppose British imperialism when in waged war against Argentina in 1982.


Like other self-proclaimed socialists it semi-blindly stumbles in the arena of world politics without clear analysis and orientation. A recently published article on the conflict between the U.S. and China on Taiwan reveals this once again. [3]


The article, nearly 2,500 words long, deals a lot with U.S. imperialism and its reactionary interests. More than 10 times the author talks about “U.S. imperialism”. Needless to say, that such a discourse is absolutely correct in itself. Except … that it does not mention a single timeChinese imperialism” or “imperialist China”! [4]


Instead, the IMT uses formulations like “the conflict between US imperialism and China”, i.e. descriptions which do not present a clear class characterization of the later power. Hence, the whole conflict appears as one between an imperialist Great Power (the U.S.) and another, non-imperialist power (China).


It is evident that such a false analysis can only confuse and disorientate socialists. If one side is imperialist and the other is not imperialist, Marxist usually support the later against the former. The only exception is if a non-imperialist state act as a proxy of another imperialist Great Power. [5] However, even a political analphabet would not claim that Beijing is a proxy of any other power and the IMT also does not say anything like this.


Such a – wittingly or unwittingly – one-sided analysis has devastating political consequences. The IMT opens the door to a position of defense of China against the U.S. In other words, it paves the way to social-imperialist capitulation by siding – openly or concealed – with Chinese imperialism against its U.S. rival.


As we have pointed out in our book on the Great Power rivalry this is no accident. The IMT has a long history of concealing the imperialist nature of Russia and China. It is only in very rare cases that it admits these fundamental facts without which it is impossible to understand one of the key axes of modern world politics. [6]


Its denunciation of the wish of the Chechen people to separate from imperialist Russia (“Chechen separatism”), is another example of such adaption to (pro-Russian) social-imperialism. Such a policy, we note in passing, corresponds appropriately with their opportunistic orientation to the Great Russian Stalinist KPRF. [7]


Trotsky repeatedly emphasized that Marxists have „to state what is“. Centrists, in contrast, prefer not to „state what is“ but rather to soften their characterizations and criticism in order not to offend their friends in the camp of the reformist bureaucracy (which, in turn, are servants of the bourgeoisie).


The IMT is a perfect example for this kind of political animal! They master the art of concealing!






[1] On the RCIT’s analysis of the Great Power rivalry and China’s and Russia’s rise as imperialist powers see the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: In particular we refer to the book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, See also our numerous documents on the Global Trade War which have been collected at a special sub-page on our website: See also the latest pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: “A Really Good Quarrel”. US-China Alaska Meeting: The Inter-Imperialist Cold War Continues, 23 March 2021,

[2] See on this, in addition to the above mentioned book Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry, the RCIT document Theses on Revolutionary Defeatism in Imperialist States, Resolution of the International Executive Committee of the RCIT, 8 September 2018,

[3] The Spark: Taiwan: What is behind the imperialist saber–rattling? 03 May 2021,

[4] For our analysis of capitalist restoration in China we refer to 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,; see also by the same author: How is it possible that some Marxists still Doubt that China has Become Capitalist? (A Critique of the PTS/FT), An analysis of the capitalist character of China’s State-Owned Enterprises and its political consequences, 18 September 2020,; Unable to See the Wood for the Trees (PTS/FT and China). Eclectic empiricism and the failure of the PTS/FT to recognize the imperialist character of China, 13 August 2020,; for our analysis of China as an imperialist power see, in addition to the above-mentioned book “Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry”, e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Chinese Imperialism and the World Economy, an essay in the second edition of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope. It has been published by Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, in 2020,;; see also by the same author the above-mentioned pamphlet: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences; The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014,

[5] Such scenarios exist e.g. in recent years in the case of the Ukraine (a proxy of the U.S. and the EU) against Russia or of India (as a proxy of the U.S.) against China. A similar situation would exist in case of a war between China and Taiwan as the later is a proxy of U.S. imperialism.

For our latest statement on the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine see RCIT: A New War between Russia and Ukraine? Neither Russia-China nor NATO! Down with imperialist Great Powers in East and West! 3 April 2021,;

On the China-India see e.g. RCIT: China-India Border Conflict: Down with Chauvinist Warmongering on Both Sides! Support the national rights of the Kashmiri and the Nepalese people! 28 May 2020,; for a more extensive analysis of the conflict between China and India see e.g. our pamphlet by 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,

On the conflict about Taiwan see e.g. Thesis 21 in World Perspectives 2019: Heading Towards a Volcanic Political Eruption,

[6] See Chapter “XI. Revisionist Whitewashing: Meaningless Category “Imperialism” (CWI/IMT/IST)” in the above mentioned book Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry.

[7] On the RCIT’s analysis of Russia’s rise as emerging imperialist powers see, in addition to the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website:, the following works: 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 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),