Revolution breaks up existing social relations, benefiting some individuals, groups and classes while depriving others of property, privilege and power held under the pre-revolutionary social order. The dispossessed, outraged by the deprivation of “rights” which they had taken for granted in the old society, protest, organize and endeavor to take back or “restore” their former privileges and authority. Such efforts are labeled counterrevolution.
Revolution on a planet-wide scale, during the past half century, stimulated and generated counter-revolution. Revolution in each country leads to counter-revolution, as the dispossessed attempt to seize the seats of unstable power. Generally such efforts at restoration depend upon aid from the propertied and privileged in neighboring countries. Where ferment is widespread, ruling elements in threatened countries invade the area in which a revolution is taking place in an effort to reverse the revolutionary process and restore the privileges of the dispossessed ruling classes.
The Mexican Revolution of 1910, the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 all led to counter-revolutions which included military invasion by the armed forces of imperialist powers.
After war’s end in 1945, as colonial and dependent peoples rose against their imperial masters, counter-revolution was hurriedly organized on an international scale. The same imperialist elements that had sent arms and armies into Russia after the Revolution of 1917 prepared to use the United Nations as the spearhead of their counter-revolutionary drives. When that plan failed, they built up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO was an exclusive clique into which representatives of all of the 19th century empires were welcomed. Its declared purpose was to contain, combat and finally to overthrow the revolutionary regimes that were being established in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
John Foster Dulles, one of the chief architects of NATO, declared that the aim of the organization was to destroy “the international communist conspiracy.” A century earlier, similar efforts were made by the Holy Alliance of monarchists and imperialists, whose purpose was to destroy “the international republican conspiracy.”
If a conspiracy is a joint effort to carry out an unlawful or harmful purpose, NATO, like the Holy Alliance of 1815, is a conspiracy. Both organizations represented the propertied and privileged of a passing social order. Both proposed, by the use of armed force, to turn back the clock of history, restore deposed masters to their former positions of prestige and power, and keep subject peoples in bondage.
Overthrow in April, 1964, of the duly elected progressive government of Brazil, is a first-class example of the work done by the International Imperialist Conspiracy. Brazilian progressives under the leadership of one of the large landholders of Brazil, João Goulart, were attempting, by constitutional and legal means, to clear out feudal survivals and modernize their country. The task was difficult and complicated but it might have been carried to a successful conclusion, had it not been for the illegal and unconstitutional action of Goulart’s Brazilian opponents, backed by the International Imperialist Conspiracy operating in Brazil. First among these forces was the Brazilian opposition to Goulart, led by the landlords, the church, the dominant factions in the Army and certain Brazilian business interests working closely with foreign investors. Important foreign interests worked against the Goulart Government: (1) foreign investors in Brazilian enterprises: oil, automobiles, mining; (2) representatives of U.S.A. and other foreign military establishments; (3) U.S.A. and other embassies, consulates, military missions; (4) foreign projects in Brazil such as the Alliance for Progress; (5) the C.I.A. and other foreign under-cover agencies. These agencies, operating with their Brazilian opposite numbers, and using the Brazilian military organization, overthrew the duly elected government of Brazil in 1964, imposed a military dictatorship on the country, acting for Brazilian property and privilege, while serving as the handymen of foreign imperialist interests.
Spokesmen for the “free world” presently are proclaiming their crusade to preserve freedom in Vietnam, Laos, the Congo, Cuba and China, using arms where necessary to uphold unpopular regimes. The proposed “freedom” would prevent local populations in Southeast Asia and elsewhere from choosing a communist way of life and force on them the “free enterprise” way under which the planetwide 19th century empires held more than a billion colonials in bondage.
Imperialists have suffered a shattering defeat during the past half century: first at their own hands, in two general suicidal wars fought by rival imperialist gangs; second, by a planetwide revolt of their erstwhile colonials and dependents, and third, through a series of social revolutions that turned a third of the planet from imperialist bondage to socialist construction.
Currently, in Iran, in Malaysia, in the Congo and in Southeast Asia attempts are being made by the International Imperialist Conspiracy to check the trend toward socialism-communism; return the imperialists to their former privileged positions in the colonies; re-establish white supremacy over the colored peoples, and restore the property and class relationships, the exploitation and military ascendancy associated with private enterprise and national (imperial) sovereignty.
(from Chapter III, The Conscience of a Radical, Scott Nearing, Harborside, Maine: Social Science Institute, 1965)
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