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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

"Working class internationalism is an essential weapon in the struggle against imperialism."

From "The Struggle for Leninist Concepts of Proletarian Internationalism" - Gus Hall, 1969

"Working class internationalism is an essential weapon in the struggle against imperialism. In its basic essence the struggle for internationalism in the revolutionary movement is a struggle against opportunism. How one reacts to and identifies with the problems of one's own class is a measurement of class consciousness. How one reacts to these same problems in some other country, or when they affect the lives and struggles on a world scale is a measure of the depth of one's internationalism.

Internationalism is class consciousness that reaches beyond national boundaries. Internationalism correctly sees the oneness of the national self interests of one's class, and the worldwide nature of the class struggle. Proletarian internationalism is not a slogan. or a cute phrase that one trots out on some ceremonial occasion. It is an ideological concept that must lead to a line of actions. It is an outlook that must influence a line of tactics. It is a world outlook of a class. It is a weapon of struggle. The concept has its roots in the hard necessities of the class struggle. It reflects the realities of the working class. Capitalism is worldwide. Class exploitation is worldwide. Monopoly corporations cross state boundaries. The world nature of capitalist exploitation is further developed in the rise of the multi-national corporations. More than ever the class enemy is international. Without the concept of internationalism the working class cannot rise above the limits set by narrow nationalism. Without the concept of internationalism the working class cannot fulfill its historic assignment of leading civilization along the path of social progress. Without it the working class cannot be the revolutionary class. Without internationalism the working class cannot successfully challenge and defeat capitalism which operates and coordinates its own activities on a world scale. Imperialism is a worldwide network. Without the concept of internationalism, imperialism cannot be crushed. The concept of internationalism is a working-class response to imperialism

Proletarian internationalism is an integral feature of Marxism-Leninism. The concept has grown with the development of Marxism. Proletarian internationalism is inseparable from the basic concept of the nature and role of the working class, the only class in society whose self interests are not in contradiction with the forces and direction of social progress. Working-class self-interests coincide with the direction of history -- towards a civilization, a social order that will eliminate the curse of classes forever. In proletarian internationalism the working class introduces a kernel of an outlook, the ideological makeup of the future, more advanced civilization. It presents a kernel of the one-worldness of future relationships. It presents the kernel of the new morality, the ethics of a society not torn apart by a greedy drive for profits. It is an effective weapon of struggle because it contains the seeds of classless tomorrows.

The working class of each country faces two responsibilities—national and international. How to unite these tasks has always been a challenge to the revolutionary movements. Many have floundered on this issue. The main weapon of the enemy is a skillful use of chauvinism, nationalism and a false use of patriotism."

Gus Hall was the General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1959 until 2000.



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