Marxism-Leninism is an ideological corpus of doctrine whose appeal should not be underestimated. Despite proclamations of the intellectual "death of Marx and Marxism,"* it still supplies the energy of a worldwide crusade and the strategy for a war against the Free World waged under the banner of "class struggle" and the implacable hatred of capitalism. Useful distinctions can be made between the teachings of Marx and Lenin, and between the teachings of both men and the actual practice of Communism today. These differences, however, are not contradictory but complementary. The Communist strategy of expansion is rooted in the theses of Karl Marx as amplified and put into practice by Lenin. The West is awakening slowly to the Communist military threat. But this threat, if it is to be contained, and reversed, must be understood as part of a global strategy rooted in Marxist-Leninist ideology.
Lenin, unlike Marx, envisioned the triumph of Communism not only in industrialized nations, but in underdeveloped countries as well. This Leninist extension of "class struggle" produced the global war in which we are now engaged. This war is total in its scope ("It is not victory that they want, it is the world" [Richard M. Nixon]) and total also in the use of all possible means: military force, military intimidation, indirect war of resources, terrorism, disinformation, demoralization, corruption of the elites, destruction of the cultural and legal assets of the Free World. The concept of totalitarianism has to be appreciated in this view. And it is a Marxist as well as Leninist concept. Lenin's theory of total war merely extends the scope of concepts which are genuinely Marxist, the concepts of contradiction and class struggle. From these seminal ideas arises the whole concept of war against the Free World and the will to impose the totalitarian model on all people.
The Marxist apparatus promised a gradual extinction of state power after revolution; but first, the proletariat, a liberating factor as well as a liberated "class," had to establish its dictatorship. This was conceived by Marx abstractly as a transitional phase.
Lenin transformed this nebulous abstraction into very specific practice. The international party that he conceived would be an elite, "the agents of awareness," Bolsheviks who would be only hard-core revolutionaries, entirely devoted to Communism, trained for struggle and absolutely disciplined, able to combine ruse and strength to conquer power. The dictatorship of the proletariat-using mass terror, state terror, imprisonment, and torture-became the way in which a determined minority could impose its will in order to establish a totalitarian regime on a country.
Stalin perfected the Communist technique for the conquest of power and for the establishment of a leftist totalitarian regime. But one has to realize that all the terror that is reproached in Stalinism was already enacted by Lenin. Lenin is the real inventor of the Gulag. In a telegram to Evguenia Bodganova Bosch, head of the Penza local section of the Cheka, in August 1918, Lenin wrote:
I have received your telegram. It is indispensable to organize a guard composed of the surest persons, carefully picked out. Apply a merciless terror against kulaks, priests and white guards; send the suspects into a concentration camp(koncentracionny lager) outside the city. Launch the expedition. Please cable implementation of orders.
Such murderous fanaticism, inaugurated by Lenin and perfected by Stalin, was made possible by Marx. It is the Marxist ideas of class struggle, of being on the side of history, that enable the perpetrators of these evil actions to commit their atrocities with a clear conscience. The Soviet strategy of terror, the will to power of the Bolsheviks, is already contained in the matrix of Marxism considered as a science and as a discourse of truth.
The promethean dream shared by Marx and Lenin is the dream of the creation of a new man, springing from the rubble of the "ancient man." This is the motto of the Third International, the one which is linked with the 1917 revolution: Togenerate a new world with a new human nature.
In order to change the world, globally and radically, one has to change the perceptions of the whole of mankind. This is the work of "disinformation," a Leninist "active measure" foreshadowed by the Marxist concept of dialectics and contradiction, in which truth is made relative and language is uprooted from meaning.
Everyone is now familiar with the routine disinformation that spreads lies and confusion about day-to-day events. But Marxism-Leninism also aims for disorientation at a deeper level. First, it attacks traditional cultures and symbolic codes. Sacred customs and values are relentlessly subjected to dialectical analysis. The entire histories of peoples and nations are reinterpreted in light of the tyrannical Marxist logic of "contradiction." This attack is waged against the Third World, in particular. The second target of the universal Marxist campaign of distortion is the "formal liberties" or "bourgeois liberties" of the Western democracies. Looked at through the dialectical prism, these liberties become the means used by the ruling and dominant class to reinforce its dominance and to exploit the "alienated classes." The state of right, the constitutional rules, the ethical and juridical forms of respect for democracy and for the human person are described by Marxism-Leninism as sheer instruments of domination, and their fundamental value is denied. The class conflict is always understood as underlying the surface structures of political or civil society. Bourgeois state and bourgeois law are equally condemned as archaic and obsolete before the reality of history. Similarly, the concept of legal and constitutional respect for the person is described by both Marx and Lenin as a petty bourgeois attitude rooted in selfish individualism.
The attack upon the state of right, upon the universality of human rights and the local preservation of our freedoms through law, is vigorously waged by the local Communist parties in Western democracies. These parties are within the system, apparently abiding by parliamentarian rules. But, in fact, they are undermining democracy from the inside. The so-called Eurocommunism in Italy and Spain, though supposedly less obedient to Moscow, is merely a tactical variation of the larger Communist design: advance the cause of revolution through all means, including legal means, as infiltrations within the apparatus of the bourgeois state.
Nicaragua today gives us a measure of the contempt that a Marxist-Leninist state can show toward civil and formal liberties. The Sandinistas have from time to time made some flimsy pretense of abiding by a rule of law. But this has always been done for the sole purpose of consolidating their own arbitrary revolutionary power, of which they have repeatedly shown the cruel reality.
The Communist design for world conquest, then, is founded upon Marxist philosophy and ideology. It is in the substratum of Marxist ideology that Communist expansionism is validated and rooted. As Andropov himself reaffirmed in one of his famous speeches to the Supreme Soviet, ideology is the privileged ground on which the definitive fight between Communism and capitalism takes place.
The full threat of Communist conquest and subversion, however, can be appreciated only when we combine Marxist ideology with Leninist strategy. This strategy encompasses not only the military, but the political, economic, cultural, and moral realms: Propaganda campaigns against the SDI, against the deployment of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe, and against the independence of French and British strategic forces are coupled with the cultivation of German guilt and manipulation of the German desire for reunification. Campaigns raising charges of racism in France follow terrorist threats aimed at affecting elections in Belgium, and serve the same disinformation purpose.
Bloody acts of terrorism on every continent sow fear and frustration, while constant appeals to the "Vietnam syndrome" rekindle self-doubt and moral confusion-all aimed at fostering a deep-seated isolationism in America. The campaign against South Africa is a perfect example of attacking in the moral realm to achieve military, economic, and political objectives. The Soviet pipeline to Europe is constructed as Western access to vital raw materials is threatened. The object of this strategy is to deprive the Western democracies of the means and the will to resist. For Lenin, as for the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, the supreme art of war is to defeat one's enemy without bloodying one's sword. This indirect strategy is combined today with classic forms of Soviet strategy, such as the Grechko doctrine of expanding into neighboring countries and the Gorshkov doctrine of remote operations through naval supremacy and use of proxies such as the Cubans, Libyans, North Koreans, and now the Sandinistas.
To this global strategy, we should oppose our own global strategy, not founded on a "mirror image" or a "symmetry," but upon the asymmetry which makes the Free World fundamentally different from the totalitarian world. The democracies must no longer naively project their own frames of mind onto their adversary, cooing about the liberalism of Andropov or the pleasant manners of Gorbachev. Such self-deception is a form of surrender.
The first rule for survival is to inform ourselves, to inform our youth, and to inform the countries of the Third World who want to resist Leninist takeover, of the ideology, strategy, and tactics of the adversary. If we fail to do this, we will simply produce another generation of "experts," diplomats, and politicians who will look upon Daniel Ortega, for example, as a decent social democrat instead of as the Leninist he is.
The antidote to disinformation is information: Information through education at school, but also through accuracy in the media. Radio Marti, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Liberty are means of fighting against disinformation abroad in the countries subjected to Communist rule. But we must fight disinformation at home as well. Our citizens must understand why constitutionalism and democracy are worth preserving and how they are threatened by Communist aggression.
The democracies must remain an example and a hope for those nations who look to us not only for military and economic aid but for moral and cultural guidance. This, of course, means that we must not shrink from proclaiming and articulating the superiority of democracy in principle to other forms of government. In staking out this high ground, however, our democratic principles themselves demand of us-what sound policy also requires-namely, a respect for the cultural diversity of democracy's many potential or actual friends. We should stand proud of the rise of democracy among our allies without carping about some aspects which do not yet fit our patterns. We should encourage germs of democracy whenever they show themselves (El Salvador, South Africa) without imposing an exacting set of immediate demands which pay no respect to the circumstances, cultures, and traditions of these countries.
The universality of our principles need not and must not deprive us of our common sense. If we compare Morocco and Algeria, for instance, the fact that the rights of political opponents are not satisfactorily protected in either country should not blind us to the fact that pluralism of culture, of the press, and of parliamentarian life, exists in Morocco more than in socialist Algeria. People who today protest violently against apartheid in South Africa, without realizing the explosion that "one man, one vote" would create instantly, ought to remember that in France, "the motherland of human rights," the female portion of the population lived in political apartheid until 1946 when women were granted the right of voting. Some Swiss cantons have not granted women this right to this day.
We detract nothing from the stature of our universal principles by recognizing that much of our policy must be ad hoc. In fact, only by respecting the diverse traditions and circumstances of different peoples, and by shaping incentives and inducements appropriate to each case, can we hope for gradual realization of democracy. We mislead ourselves, and we undervalue our cause, if we think that democracy is the work of a day.
Not only our actions but our arguments on behalf of democracy, should vary according to the distinct conditions that prevail in different parts of the world. To the young and fragile democracies in Latin America we should clearly expose every aspect of the subversive and oppressive designs of Castro's Cuba. We should awaken every candid advocate of democracy to the systematic, Marxist-Leninist strategy of ideological, political, and military aggression pursued by the Soviet Union through its Cuban and Nicaraguan proxies throughout the hemisphere. And we should not let Castro's neighbors forget Cuba's role as a pawn of Soviet imperialism in Africa, with whose people the Latin Americans have strong ties of sympathy and interest. With Arabic or Islamic regimes we should emphasize Soviet aggression in Afghanistan. We should display in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates, for example, the image of Arafat grinning with glee at the Kremlin in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And we should constantly demonstrate to all the worldwide network of Communist terror and aggression.
On the constructive side, democracy must sing the praises of the heroes of freedom. Commandant Mazud of Afghanistan, Jonas Savimbi of Angola, and Lech Walesa of Poland should become cult figures for the youth at a moment when there are more guerrilla fighters on the side of the Free World than for the other side. The reversal of the Guevara myth should stir young hearts in the post-Vietnam generation.
And again, with different regions and different cultures we should emphasize different heroes and different symbols of freedom. Like the apostles, democracy must speak in many tongues. We must make the political doctrines of democracy understandable to peoples who have not, like us, imbibed them with their mothers' milk. We must encourage the spirit of democracy in the multitude of forms in which it is expressed around the world. Encouraging the spiritual and religious motives of Islamic fighters against Leninist, atheistic oppression is a democratic duty which is perfectly consistent with opposition to the fanaticism of a Khomeini. Similarly, the Church in Latin America should be encouraged in its role as guardian of human rights and liberties. This is our best ally against the Marxist-Leninist exploitation of the theology of liberation.
To reconquer the lands that have been captured by forces of Leninist oppression and render them to freedom and democracy, the tactics must be manifold, though they should be guided by a single strategy of displacement. Flexible response should be introduced in these political and cultural matters within the horizon of the universal principles of democracy. But the possibility of this supposes memory, analysis, and will power that are now only a latent potentiality of the democracies.
"Know yourself, know your adversary." This was Sun Tzu's advice to the strategist. "If you know yourself without knowing your adversary, or if you know your adversary without knowing yourself, your chances of victory are fifty percent. If you know yourself and also your adversary, you will be happy in all battles. But if you do not know yourself or your adversary, you have to fear everything."
It is most urgent that in the Western world at large the culture of democracy should be restored as subject in our schools and academies. This cannot be done without a rehabilitation of the humanities; I see with pleasure that the future commanders of American military forces receive not only a high technical training, but also a new course in the humanities. Without an ethical education and civic instruction, how will our youth have any idea what they will have to battle for?
We must encourage intelligent, public skepticism toward the disinformation that is consciously and unconsciously conveyed in our printed and audio-visual media. But, what is much more important, we must endeavor to provide our future journalists with sound educations so that they will themselves be proof against disinformation. We have too long felt the consequences of a journalism whose frame of mind is overwhelmingly behaviorist and relativist. And our politicians have often learned the same lessons as our journalists.
Montesquieu, in the Esprit des Lois, noted the importance of a people's love of its institutions. Well, certainly the institutions of freedom deserve such a love. And we must have such a love for them if we are to combat the hatred of free society, of capitalism, and of constitutional institutions that animates Marxist-Leninist aggression. Such love must be fostered at home, on the campuses, in the churches, so that this cause of freedom, adored of our hearts and ratified by our reason, may prevail against the assaults of Marxism-Leninism.
So long as we continue to view the Soviets as crude reflections of our own liberal selves, we will defeat ourselves. We must cease to be distracted with naive chatter about "hard-liners" versus "moderates" in the Kremlin. Anyone who survives and rises to the summit of Soviet power is as cynical, as ruthless, and as orthodox as Stalin. Our future diplomats should receive compulsory training in the harsh truth about Marxism-Leninism and the Communist system. We should not have to await the next issue of Playboy to learn that Tomas Borge is a Leninist.
As a final reflection, I must add that the hopes placed by the democracies in social-democratic forces have been misplaced. The social-democracies are no longer able to play the role of a rampart against Communism. The infiltration of the Socialist International by the Soviets and their surrogates is a clear witness to this fact. The vulnerability of Socialist France is another.
The Free World has to bet decisively on conservative forces, who understand the relation between constitutionalism and capitalism and the place of personal liberty and dignity in each. The reinforcement of a conservative international and the definition of its role in promoting democracy in the world is now an urgent necessity.
*Cf. Jean-Marie Benoist, Marx est mort (Paris: Gallimard, 1970) and Time, September 5, 1977, cover story: "French New Philosophers Speak Out."