Interview with ANTICONQUISTA
[ANTICONQUISTA is a pan-Latin American communist organization dedicated to revolutionary anti-imperialism and serving the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora. If comrades would like to learn more, check out their site, or help contribute.]
Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM): We understand that your organization considers itself to be a third-worldist, communist organization, that emphasizes the parasitic relationship existing between the Third and First World as a primary contradiction driving resistance and revolution under modern capitalism-imperialism. How exactly does this affect your politics, and what do you consider to be the basis of third-worldism as an element of communist theory and strategy?
ANTICONQUISTA (AC): At its roots, ANTICONQUISTA is a communist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, Third Worldist and pan-Latin American and Caribbean political party. We agree that there is a parasitic relationship between the Third World and First World that serves as the primary contradiction of modern capitalism-imperialism.
The First World (North America, Europe, Australia, Japan) forms a minority of the world’s population but owns the majority of the world’s wealth. Meanwhile, the Third World (Asia, Africa, Latin America) forms a majority of the world’s population but owns a minority of the world’s wealth. Although there are economic disparities that exist between poor and rich people in Third World countries and First World countries respectively, this margin is minimal compared to the broader margin of difference between the average wages of Third World and First World people overall. Dr. Zak Cope explains the mathematical foundation for this in his groundbreaking work “Divided World Divided Class.”
For ANTICONQUISTA, Third Worldism is a method of communist praxis that takes into consideration the new material conditions of economics that exist today (the ones mentioned above). We understand that those who have been most oppressed by colonialism, imperialism and capitalism (Third World people) are most likely to overthrow these same systems. We’ve clearly seen this in history with the vast number of revolutions and uprisings that continue today across the Global South. On the other hand, there has never been a successful anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist revolution in the First World because their governments have appeased their domestic populations with the spoils of imperialism stolen from the Global South.
If there were a global redistribution of wealth, the standards of living in the First World would decrease and the standards of living in the Third World would increase, given that there are only a finite amount of resources on the planet. This is something that many in the First World fail to understand. That’s why reparations, something which we fully support, is such a touchy topic among First World “leftists.”
Ultimately, we believe that by providing capital, resources and political support for our people in the Third World (more specifically in Latin America and the Caribbean), we have a better chance at overthrowing capitalism-imperialism as a whole. That’s the best we can do as Global South people living in the diaspora who have more access to capital. And for white anti-imperialists living in the First World, we believe opening their wallets and providing tactical support for Third World revolutions is the best form of praxis at this moment. Holding a banner for three hours on a town square in the Global North doesn’t materially do anything to eradicate capitalism-imperialism. We have to abandon this 1960s-era mentality of revolutionary praxis and adapt new methods of struggle.
RAIM: You have called for the building of a Communist Party for the peoples of the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora, what is your intention on this question? Further, what role do you think multinational communist organizing should have in the international communist movement today?
AC: ANTICONQUISTA was founded as the Communist Party of the Latin American and Caribbean Diaspora. Our name reflects the very nature of our political work: we are the force opposing the conquest of our lands, people and resources, just like our heroic Black and Indigenous ancestors.
The purpose of our party is to organize our people living in the diaspora, mainly in the First World, in order to help our sisters and brothers back in the motherland. We want to organize our people away from liberal/Democratic Party/Labour Party politics that promote the integration of immigrants from the Global South as junior partners and participants of imperialism. We don’t believe in the “American Dream” or support the Queen. We are radically opposed to First World imperialist governments.
There’s the famous expression “living in the belly of the beast.” We want to destroy the beast from within, not eat the remains of what the beast devours. Our allegiances lie with oppressed women, workers, campesinos, Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ people in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Third World, not Washington nor London.
Our goal is to help raise capital for revolutionary groups in Latin America and the Caribbean that are under attack, leading revolutionary change and desperately need funds to continue their work. We don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on banners, busses and other equipment for ineffective demonstrations within the First World. We want that capital to go directly to the oppressed masses in the Third World who can better utilize them toward revolution.
During the Cuban Revolution, the role of the urban revolutionaries fundraising money for the guerrillas in the jungle was extremely important toward the broader victory of socialism. That’s an example of the role we can play as revolutionaries living in the Global City (First World) assisting our sisters and brothers in the Global Countryside (Third World).
RAIM: What type of skills and resources might comrades reading this contribute?
AC: In terms of contributing to our party, all skills are welcome. Whether that’s writing, creating art, creating videos, organizing events or making educational memes. Resources like money for revolutionary groups we support or supplies for impoverished people (like diapers, water, clothes, food, etc.) are welcome.
RAIM: There are many in the world today who would say that communism is a spent force, and that the events of 1989-1991 prove this. Most of the people who say this of course are arch conservatives and standard liberals, but some say they are “moving past” communism to something better, or at least that is what they believe. Intellectual trends like “post-leftism” and “postmodernism” are correcting what they see as a “dangerous universalism” in Marxism. What are your thoughts about this type of thinking? Why do you still say that Communism is what will lead humanity forward?
AC: Unfortunately, the idea that communism is a spent force is common not only among arch conservatives and standard liberals, but also some sectors of Latin American, Caribbean, Asian and African immigrants living in the First World.
We’ve been taught that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 signaled the collapse of communism. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Capitalism, an unsustainable economic system built on profit and private property, has created endless war, famine, poverty and violence. Capitalism in its highest stage (imperialism) is the same system that facilitated the rise of mass migration from the Third World to the First World, creating immigrants and the diaspora to begin with.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, imperialist powers like the United States and NATO have remained virtually unchallenged in their imperialist endeavors, bombing, colonizing and destroying countries like Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and dozens of African countries. The only counter-balance to this in recent years has been Russia and China, which have opposed interference in Third World sovereignty within the diplomatic realm.
Today, under unbridled capitalism, the world is becoming increasingly poor and violent while literally disintegrating before our eyes with climate change. Capitalism’s archaic and anarchistic mode of planning has created this mess, thrusting us into uncertain and turbulent times.
Only socialism, a system based on workers’ rights, environmental protection and a centrally-planned economy, can solve this mess. Only socialism and eventually communism, it’s higher stage, can lead humanity forward and save the planet from being destroyed by imperialist capitalism.
RAIM: What are your thoughts concerning the recent developments in the Bolivarian revolution? Specifically on the relationship between the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which has been, especially as of late, rather rocky as the two navigate independent ideas of socialist development. The PCV have a great many friends in the PSUV, certainly, but they have criticized the limited scope of reform and action—or lack of action entirely—on the part of the PSUV in the state. Further, what do you think of the development of the “communist tent” within the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), which represents the alliance between the PCV and the most left-wing and sympathetic elements of the GPP toward a radicalization of the Bolivarian process?
AC: First and foremost, ANTICONQUISTA fully supports President Nicolás Maduro, deceased former President Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution. While our political and economic philosophy most closely resembles that of the PCV, we also support the PSUV and applaud the party for all of its accomplishments since the early 2000s.
We agree with the criticisms made by the PCV about the urgent need to eradicate bourgeois and counter-revolutionary elements in Venezuela that have betrayed its people, resources and lands. We agree that more industries still in the hands of First World-backed white settlers should be immediately confiscated and nationalized. We agree that far-right terrorists like Enzo Franchini Oliveros (a white settler who burned a Black Chavista alive) should be sent to labor camps, if not immediately executed.
We believe, however, that these decisions are up to the Venezuelan people. And as long as the Venezuelan people are objectively combatting capitalism-imperialism, we will be there to support them, regardless of whether it is social democratic, democratic socialist, Marxist-Leninist or Maoist in nature.
We also believe that the development of a communist tent within the Great Patriotic Pole is a positive development and necessary toward combatting opportunism, careerism and bureaucracy that exists within certain state institutions.
As Latin American and Caribbean people living in the diaspora, our primary responsibility is not to decide the political course of Venezuela’s revolutionary movement according to our specific beliefs. Our duty is to fight the capitalist-imperialist governments imposing sanctions on Venezuela, debunking mainstream media lies about the socialist process there and getting ready to fight the beast attacking Venezuela from within its bowels.
RAIM: There are many critics of the Bolivarian revolution and other similar revolutionary processes as necessarily “reformist” or as otherwise reactionary and liquidationist. In their view, revolution must necessarily look a certain way, regardless of what it does. What would you say to these people?
AC: Going back to the last question, we believe that true socialist revolution is a violent rupture with the capitalist-imperialist status quo. The bourgeoisie are not to be negotiated with — they are to be eliminated. This is what history has taught us with all previous revolutions.
However, as mentioned earlier, it is up to the Venezuelan people to decide their path. We, as immigrants living semi-comfortably in the First World, cannot decide their path for them.
Ultimately, it is their struggle and whatever force challenges the capitalist-imperialist elites most passionately and effectively, we will be there to offer them critical support. Even if they don’t subscribe to our political ideology 100 percent.
We also believe white leftists have no right to criticize Venezuela, since the revolutionary people there have done more in practice to build revolution than they have. Their role is to offer financial and moral support.
RAIM: Of the many international calls made by progressive and socialist anti-colonialist, Indigenist and anti-imperialist activists throughout the world, one that has gained a surprising amount of traction has been the call for reparations. Those who have joined this call range from liberals, sometimes even conservatives, to socialists and communists. Are there limitations to calls for reparations? How do you think such a program, if it were to be instituted, be administered and what would its goal be?
AC: ANTICONQUISTA fully supports reparations. We applaud the work conducted by organizations like the African People’s Socialist Party dedicated to paying back the wealth stolen from African people and other Third World people.
However, most organizations frame reparations solely within the context of their respective countries and not the world as a whole. We believe the First World as a whole should pay reparations to the Third World as a whole. Let’s not forget that all of the value accumulated in New York, London, Montreal, Berlin, etc. was stolen in its entirety from our resource-rich nations. But, as communists, we understand that the First World won’t give up it’s privileged economic position, and so we know that it has to be forcefully taken from them in the form of revolution.
On a practical level, ANTICONQUISTA is embarking on a program of revolutionary reparations. We are collecting funds not only from our own members, but also from patrons, who recognize the need to give back stolen wealth to our people. We are directing these funds to revolutionary groups in Latin America and the Caribbean that have a mass following and can potentially win power in their countries, liberating themselves from the constraints of Wall Street and the London Stock Exchange. For us, Latin America and the Caribbean is a good place to start while our comrades in similar organizations are doing similar work for their people in Africa and Asia.
Ultimately, we don’t just want to throw money at our people. We want to provide them with the funds necessary for them to successfully carry out their revolutionary political work so that they can liberate themselves.
RAIM: Ours is an era of conflagration, marked by the decay of neoliberal imperialism, with so many peoples fighting to shake off world powers that appeared, to those of us who have grown up in the shadow of amerikan unipolarity, to be permanent, irreplaceable realities. Those responsible for challenging the absolutism of western imperialism are diverse, and in many ways contradictory. The adversaries of imperialism range from communists to progressive liberals and even conservative and Islamic ones. What do you believe are the prospects for building unity between the various disparate forces pushing back against the west’s shrinking imperial vigor? To what extent is it possible to bridge these ideological gaps and build broad united fronts?
AC: As students of Marx, Lenin, Mao and other communist revolutionaries, we understand that imperialism is the primary contradiction in society. Regardless of a Third World country’s religious background or political system, imperialism still affects them.
The U.S. is just as vehemently anti-Iran as it is anti-DPRK and anti-Cuba, even though the two latter nations come from a Marxist-Leninist background as opposed to Iran, which comes from a revolutionary Shia background.
ANTICONQUISTA believes there are tremendous prospects to unite all nations and movements under attack by imperialism simply on the basis of being attacked. Once the imperialist West’s attacks against the Third World are neutralized, then we can debate ideological and religious differences.
Here’s an analogy. Say you’re stuck in a burning house with three other people. Rather than spending hours deciding who is best fit to put the fire out based on individual tactics, all four people should come together and decide on one transitional tactic to put the fire out. Based on the practical experiences of putting the fire out, a new theoretical basis of fire extinguishing can be established. Practice comes before theory — this is the mindset we should have with combatting imperialism.
Iran, for example, does not conform to a Marxist political system, but has fought tirelessly against imperialism since its heroic revolution in 1979. Iran can teach communists a thing or two about how to successfully fight imperialism.
RAIM: With the shrinking of amerikan military and hegemonic power, the playing field has been opened to other imperial competitors. Europe now exercises more autonomy than ever before, having risen to compete on the world stage both economically and militarily as a distinct imperialist bloc. Although they remain sympathetic overall to u.$. imperialism, they now pursue their interests irrespective of its impact on amerikan interests. Russia and China are also pursuing—very successfully—their own imperial ambitions, and maintaining increasingly unpredictable relationships with the western imperialists. Even powerful regional allies of western imperialism are flexing their muscles, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, for instance. The result has been an incredibly unstable situation, with intensifying inter-imperialist rivalry and escalating world tension. What would you say are our most immediate tasks pending the wars of redivision that appear to be just over the horizon? Does multi-polarity have a silver lining beneath all the danger it poses?
AC: First, we should clarify our position on imperialism. We believe that the United States, Canada, Europe and to a lesser extent Japan and Australia are the primary forces of imperialism in the world and are the enemies of humanity.
Though Russia and China have developed significantly throughout the last few decades, we would never put them on an equal footing as the aforementioned imperial forces. We are not naive to the possibility of these two nations becoming imperialist powers, but they are not imperialist at this moment. One only has to look at their military and trading history with Third World countries.
We also believe that states like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel are junior partners of Western imperialism and are not as powerful as their overlords. They are, however, still enemies.
Our most immediate tasks given rising inter-imperialist conflict are to oppose our own governments’ crimes in imperialism and fight them from within. If you live in the United States, oppose U.S. imperialism; if you live in the United Kingdom, oppose U.K. imperialism, etc.
We can’t predict the future in terms of which power will do what next, but we can predict that capitalism-imperialism will become more unstable as time progresses. This gives us ample opportunity to educate our people on socialism and how communism can later bring dignity, stability, development, environmental harmony — and perhaps more importantly, peace — to our people.
RAIM: We thank you comrades for taking the time, and congratulate you on your excellent work. Solidarity now and always.
AC: Down with Yankee and First World Imperialism!
Long live Latin American, Caribbean and Third World unity!
Long live communist revolution!