Colonial Revolution

vietcongThe postwar period was one of unprecedented turmoil in the colonial and ex-colonial countries. Wars, revolutions and counter-revolution were on the order of the day. Millions of poor and oppressed people were thrown into a ferocious struggle against imperialist domination. But although many of the tasks of the colonial revolutions were bourgeois in character, such as land reform and national liberation, on a capitalist basis there was no way forward.

Thus, in a stark confirmation of Marxism and the Theory of Permanent Revolution, as developed by Leon Trotsky, these movements swung sharply to the left, challenging the basis of the system itself. In some countries, such as Syria, Burma and Ethiopia, capitalism was abolished completely and a nationalised planned economy laid the basis for rapid development of society.

In the absence of a genuine Marxist leadership, this did not lead to the setting up of healthy workers' states, but at best deformed caricatures, similar to the Stalinist regime in Russia. However, these movements did reveal the enormous revolutionary potential of the masses.

A key historical document that analyses the important question of "proletarian bonapartism", i.e. Stalinism, in the former colonial countries. It explains the roots of the Chinese revolution and why the Maoist regime came into conflict with the Soviet Union, and also the nature of several similar regimes that came into being in that period. It was also the basis for the expulsion of Ted Grant and his followers from Mandel's so-called Unified Secretariat of the Fourth International.

Using the method of Marxism to describe the regime of Tito, and hence explain the split with Stalin, this document by Ted Grant from 1949 takes the argument further and extends it to the example of China. It elaborates further the process by which Mao Tse Tung established his regime, explaining that it was, of necessity, 'deformed' from the very beginning.

Building upon the theoretical work which had already been undertaken in relation to Russia, Eastern Europe and the Tito-Stalin split, the article by Ted Grant puts forward a perspective in relation to China that is lucid and consistent from a Marxian point of view, and moreover, brilliantly prophetic. With the world 'leaders of Trotskyism' still humming and hawing, the article goes straight to the point and applauds 'the destruction of feudalism and large-scale capitalism, in this important section of Asia, even though it is carried out under the leadership of Stalinism. In its long-term implications, it is as important as the October revolution itself.'