The condition of anti-imperialism

For the IRA. Against British Imperialism. John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Irish solidarity march in London in early 1970s.

Following the Russian Revolution, socialist parties around the world split between those who sided with the Bolsheviks and those who had supported imperialist war and simply wanted to help manage capitalism.  The result was the establishment of the Third International, officially the Communist International.  In order to keep out opportunists, reformists, national chauvinists, the spineless and such-like – the types who had got more and more influential in the Second (or Socialist) International – the new International adopted 21 conditions for membership.  Condition 8 dealt with parties in the imperialist countries and anti-imperialism.  It stated:

“A particularly marked and clear attitude on the question of the colonies and oppressed nations is necessary on the part of the communist parties of those countries whose bourgeoisies are in possession of colonies and oppress other nations. Every party that wishes to belong to the Communist International has the obligation of exposing the dodges of its ‘own’ imperialists in the colonies, of supporting every liberation movement in the colonies not only in words but in deeds, of demanding that their imperialist compatriots should be thrown out of the colonies, of cultivating in the hearts of the workers in their own country a truly fraternal relationship to the working population in the colonies and to the oppressed nations, and of carrying out systematic propaganda among their own country’s troops against any oppression of colonial peoples.”

It’s a mark of how far back the ostensibly ‘Marxist’ or ‘communist’ left in the imperialist world has drifted that very, very few would meet this condition today.