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Source: Bol'shevik: Theoretical and Political Magazine of the Central Committee of the ACP(B), Issue #5, 15 March 1949, pp. 30-41.

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Original Russian text

Bourgeois Cosmopolitanism and its reactionary role

by F. Chernov

[Scroll back to end of previous Part 2: The Party counterattacks against bourgeois cosmopolitanism.]

[3 -- THE WORLDWIDE struggle against "cosmopolitan" imperialism.]

The ideology of cosmopolitanism arises from the same manner of production of bourgeois society.

Cosmopolitanism is the negation of patriotism, its opposite. It advocates absolute apathy towards the fate of the Motherland. Cosmopolitanism denies the existence of any moral or civil obligations of people to their nation and Motherland.

The bourgeoisie preaches the principle that money does not have a homeland, and that, wherever one can "make money," wherever one may "have a profitable business", there is his homeland. Here is the villainy that bourgeois cosmopolitanism is called on to conceal, to disguise, "to ennoble" the antipatriotic ideology of the rootless bourgeois-businessman, the huckster and the traveling salesman.

Harmful cosmopolitan ideology serves for the bourgeoisie and its agents as a very convenient ideological tool for excusing and covering up all kinds of antipatriotic actions, national treason and political double-dealing. Marx showed that "bourgeois patriotism...degenerated into a complete sham after its financial, commercial, and industrial activity acquired a cosmopolitanist character" (Marx-Engels Archive, Vol. III (VIII), p. 355).

In the era of imperialism the ideology of cosmopolitanism is a weapon in the struggle of imperialist plunderers seeking world domination.

Even in the time of the first World War, defending the Bolshevik programme on the nationalities question, fighting for the right of nations for self-determination, Lenin wrote:

"Imperialism represents outgrowing by capital of frameworks for national states, it represents an expansion and exacerbation of national oppression on a new historical basis. Hence it follows that in spite of guns, exactly this, that we must join the revolutionary struggle for socialism to a revolutionary programme on the question of nationality. (Works, 4th edition, Vol. 21, page 371-2.)

This Leninist position shows the indissoluble bonds of the revolutionary struggle for socialism with the defense of national sovereignty of nations.

Imperialism is inseparable from repression of national sovereignty of peoples and monstrous national oppression. In policies of the most severe exploitation of oppressed nations, in expansionist aspirations, the imperialist bourgeoisie hides the first sources of bourgeois-cosmopolitan preaching of national nihilism.

National sovereignty, the struggle of oppressed nations for their liberation, the patriotic feelings of freedom-loving peoples and above all the mighty patriotism of the Soviet people - these still serve as a serious obstacle for predatory imperialistic aspirations, they prevent the imperialists' accomplishing their plans of establishing world-wide domination. Seeking to crush the peoples' will for resistance, the imperialist bourgeoisie and their agents in the camp of Right-wing socialists preach that national sovereignty purportedly became obsolete and a thing past its time, they proclaim the fiction of the very notion of nation and state independence.

The ruling cliques of nations, being the objects of American expansion go all out so as to spit upon and fault the yearning of the masses for the preservation of their national sovereignty, thus rendering aid to American imperialism.

Violently attacking the peoples' aspiration to protect their national sovereignty, their national independence, apologists of imperialism insolently declare "out of date" the peoples' aspiration for preservation or achievement of their national independence, or, in other words, their unwillingness to voluntary submit to the imperialist aggressors.

The preaching of national nihilism is knowingly and deliberately led by the ideologists of Anglo-American imperialism against the land of Socialism and the people's democracies. The people of people's democratic countries under the leadership of communists, with the support of the Soviet Union, bravely and steadfastly fight for their national independence. In particular the Communist parties now serve in all countries of the world as the heirs and most consistent defenders of the better national traditions of peoples, as frontline fighters for liberty and independence of peoples. They lead national opposition to the aggressors and the expansionist aspirations of American imperialism.

Modern bourgeois cosmopolitanism is the ideological expression of aggressive imperialist policies of the reactionary bourgeoisie of the great capitalistic powers, directed towards the establishment of their world supremacy. The struggle for world domination, for the exploitation of the world by a handful of capitalist monopolies naturally and inevitably results from inequality in the economic and political development of capitalism in the era of imperialism.

"Global supremacy," Lenin observed, "is, in short, the maintenance of imperialist policies, the continuation of which is imperialist war." (Works, Vol. XIX, p. 201.)

American imperialism, in the current conditions, is revealed as the pretender for world domination. And this explains this fact, namely that the ideologists of American imperialism emerge today as the most violent propagandists of cosmopolitanism. Present day bourgeois cosmopolitanism is chosen by American imperialism as a weapon of the ideological struggle for world domination. With the help of American cosmopolitan propaganda, American imperialism directs the ideological preparation for the accomplishment of its expansionist, aggressive aspirations. The ideology of bourgeois cosmopolitanism serves as a convenient cover for the subversive activity of spies and saboteurs, working at the behest of foreign intelligence services. In the guise of cosmopolitan phraseology, in false slogans about the struggle against "nationalist selfishness," hides the brutal face of the inciters of a new war, trying to bring about the fantastic notion of American rule over the world. From the imperialist circles of the USA today issues propaganda of "world citizenship" and "universal government."

The true sense of this propaganda was unmasked by Comrade A.A. Zhdanov in his report at the conference of some representatives of Communist parties.

"Some of the directions of the ideological 'campaign' accompanying plans for the enslavement of Europe," said Comrade Zhdanov, "are an attack on the principle of national sovereignty, a call for the rejection of the sovereign rights of peoples and, set up in contrast to them, the idea of 'universal government'." The sense of this campaign consists of this, to enhance unchecked expansion of American imperialism, inconsiderately violating the sovereign rights of peoples, to represent the USA in the role of the standard-bearer of the laws of all mankind, and otherwise, to present those who resist American influence as followers of obsolete 'selfish' nationalism.

The patriotism of the popular masses serves as a powerful spiritual weapon of the workers in the struggle for liberty and national independence. Directed against patriotism, bourgeois cosmopolitanism pursues the goal of ideological disarmament of peoples opposing American imperialistic expansion. With the aid of cosmopolitan propaganda, the bourgeoisie of Western countries and their agents in the persons of Blum, Bevin, and Schumacher and their like aspire to excuse their national treason, and to prepare ideologically the total surrender of these countries before American imperialism.

Comrade A.A. Zhdanov showed that bourgeois cosmopolitism and, in particular, the cosmopolitan idea of "one-world government" have a strikingly expressed anti-Soviet orientation.

"The co-opting of the idea of 'one-world government' by the bourgeois intelligentsia from a number of dreamers and pacifists," said Comrade Zhdanov, "is used not only as a tool to press for the ideological disarmament of peoples, who stand up for their independence from encroachments from the direction of American imperialism, but also as a slogan expressly opposed by the Soviet Union, which constantly and repeatedly defends the principle of true equal rights and the protection of the sovereign rights of all peoples, great and small."

Fed by the aggressive Anglo-American plans for world domination, present-day cosmopolitanism is nothing but the seamy side of unbridled Anglo-American bourgeois nationalism and racism.

Cosmopolitanism and nationalism are not opposites, but are merely two sides of bourgeois-imperialist ideology. Cosmopolitanism always was and is merely a screen, a disguise for nationalism. In due course, unmasking the German bourgeois "true socialists," Marx and Engels indignantly wrote: "...such a narrow nationalist world-view lies at the foundation of supposed universalism and German cosmopolitanism" (K. Marx, F. Engels, Works, Vol. IV, p. 464).

Self-seeking imperialist interests of the Anglo-American capitalist monopolies and militant Anglo-American bourgeois nationalism lie at the foundation of bourgeois cosmopolitanism.

All the preaching of cosmopolitan ideas, exported from the USA, of "world citizenship," "universal government," "world-wide power," and the "supranational state" etc. are called to serve in their own way as an ideological disguise for Anglo-American nationalism.

Leninism revealed the sources, the roots of bourgeois cosmopolitanism. V.I. Lenin wrote: "...the union of imperialists of all countries, the union, naturally and inevitably, for the defense of capital, knowing no homeland, proved by many of the most significant and greatest episodes in world history, that capital puts the keeping of its alliance of capitalists of all countries against the workers higher than the interests of the fatherland, of the people or of anything else." (Works, Vol. XXIII, p. 4).

Lenin proved here that the bourgeoisie places the protection of its self-serving class interests "higher than the interests of the fatherland, the people, or anything else," that in the name of protecting its class interests the bourgeoisie creates a "union of imperialists of all countries" against the workers.

The composition of a new international situation as a result of the Second World War - the growth of the power of the Soviet Union and its international authority, the drop-out from the imperialist system by the peoples' democracies, leftward tendencies among the masses in capitalist countries, the colossal growth of the strength of socialism and democracy in the whole world, the growth of national liberation movements in colonial and semi-colonial counties - all this provokes spiteful hatred from the imperialist, antidemocratic camp, headed by the USA, having set as its main purpose the struggle with socialism and democracy.

Present-day bourgeois cosmopolitanism with its call for the repudiation of national sovereignty, with its notions of "one-world government," the creation of the "United States of Europe," etc. is an ideological "basis" and "consecration" of the assembling under the aegis of American imperialism of a "union of imperialists" in the name of the struggle against the toiling masses, against the Soviet Union and people's democracies, against the irresistible growth over the entire world of the forces of socialism and democracy.

Bourgeois cosmopolitanism is from start to finish a profoundly reactionary ideology of the imperialist bourgeoisie, an ideological banner of the imperialist, antidemocratic camp. Therefore the struggle with bourgeois cosmopolitanism is an indispensable and paramount component part of the struggle against imperialism, against decadent bourgeois ideology.

[Scroll ahead to Section 4: SOVIET Patriotism -- a new and higher type.]

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