As a new Marxist-Leninist party in a country with no shortage of apparently socialist and communist organisations, it behoves us to justify the formation of what some may see as yet another barrier in the path to working class unity. We hope the reader will forgive the space we are devoting in the first two issues of Proletarian to the question of where this new party has sprung from and why we considered it necessary to found a new party rather than joining an existing one. After reading what we have to say, it is our sincere belief that right-thinking readers will agree we have acted not out of sectarianism, egotism or any other selfish motivations, but out of solid conviction that only in this way can we serve working people’s true interests. While duplication of communist work and communist organisation would indeed be a serious crime, the reality in Britain is that there has not been a communist party worthy of the name for many decades, despite the hosts laying claim to that honourable title.
While Marxist theory will inform all our writings (and our practice too), we aim to carry one article of a purely theoretical nature in every issue of Proletarian. The working class movement in Britain has long suffered from the consequences of its backwardness in, and utter disdain for, theory. Lenin said long ago that “without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement”, while the founders of scientific socialism, Marx and Engels, stressed that “since socialism has become a science, it must be studied as a science”. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all those who are serious about abolishing imperialism to study and master the science of Marxism Leninism – not in dry abstraction or as an intellectual exercise, but in order that they learn to apply it to the ever-changing situation in which they operate; in order to arm themselves with a guide to practice, without which the working class will never free itself from the chains of capitalist slavery.
A common thread running through many articles in this issue is imperialism and oil. Scratch the surface of any conflict around the world and you are likely to find imperialist manoeuvrings at the root, whether it be Palestine, Ireland, Congo, Yugoslavia, Iraq or Sudan. Imperialist crisis leads to ever more frenzied competition for the world’s mineral resources, for control of markets and for avenues of profitable investment. As the commodity of commodities, fuelling industry as well as the imperialist war machines, oil assumes tremendous significance at a time when the whole system is spiralling into crisis and war.
The recent history of the Middle East is one of peoples subjected to a century of imperialist intervention and war for no greater crime than the accident of being born in a region that is host to the majority of the world’s proven oil reserves. Indeed, every country where oil is discovered – or where oil pipelines are required to run – finds itself immediately targeted by imperialists. That is what happened in Yugoslavia, and that, underneath all the hysterical propaganda about ethnic cleansing (a favourite accusation of the truly genocidal imperialists), is what is happening today in Sudan.