Research and study of ideologies of social and national emancipation and their application to conditions within imperialist society

The struggle against neo-colonialism and the creation of a multipolar world. Paper delivered to the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club on the theme “Russia and the struggle against neo-colonialism: the end of the western dictate?” 16 February 2023.


Dear Colleagues

Friends and Comrades

First, I would like to thank the Valdai Club for their kind invitation to participate in this important event, especially alongside such a distinguished group of fellow panelists. I also express my appreciation and respect for all the work you do.

The overarching topic you have chosen for today’s deliberations is a central question of contemporary global politics. But it is of far more than just contemporary significance. It has been, I would argue, the most vital issue facing humanity for centuries.

What is most significant about the present conjuncture is that the conditions are maturing for the final resolution of this historical problem through the creation of a truly multipolar, or pluripolar, world, with independence as its foundation and at its core.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the great African-American scholar, Dr. WEB DuBois said that the defining issue of that coming century would be what he termed the ‘colour line’. He spoke just a few short years after the European colonial powers had met in Berlin to carve the continent of Africa between themselves like so many slices of cake.

What DuBois was referring to was the struggle of the oppressed nations and peoples for their liberation – a struggle that characterized the twentieth century. The 1917 revolution that led to the creation of the Soviet Union was the first great turning point in the anti-colonial struggle. For the first time, a great world power emerged that was unequivocally committed to the struggle of the colonial peoples.

When the imperialist powers again plunged the world into a war for the redivision of the colonies, it was the Soviet Union and its Red Army that played the decisive role in what became an anti-fascist battle for democracy.

Arising from the historic defeat of fascism was the victory of the Chinese revolution, which had a profound impact on the global balance of forces.

The founding of the People’s Republic of China, the independence of India, the revolutions in Korea and Vietnam, and the 1955 Afro-Asian Conference in the Indonesian city of Bandung were among the most important factors in creating a new reality in which the persistence of the old colonial empires, in the form they had taken hitherto, became untenable.

Even amidst its tragic and bitter divisions, the existence of the socialist camp was the greatest mainstay and support for the wave of anti-colonialism that swept through Africa and Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific, and even in Europe, as the struggle of the Irish people demonstrates. Whilst formal decolonization remains to be completed, hundreds of millions of people won their national independence and embarked on the struggle to build a new society. However, that struggle has proven to be no less arduous than that to win independence. As far back as 1897, the Irish socialist James Connolly had warned:

“If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country.”

Just as Lenin had defined imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, so it fell to Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to define neo-colonialism as the highest stage of imperialism.

And just as it was the existence of the socialist camp that provided the greatest support to the cause of national independence and the building of a new society, so it was the collapse of the Soviet Union, in particular, that constituted the greatest setback, temporarily giving colonialism and imperialism a new lease of life.

Far from the ‘peace dividend’ we were promised, the ‘new world order’ and then the ‘rules based international order’ ushered in a new period of colonial wars, in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, Syria and Somalia, among others, wreaking havoc, destruction and misery in those countries and farther afield.

Three factors, in particular, have, however, served to make the moment of imperialist triumphalism a fleeting one:

  • The People’s Republic of China, far from changing its class character, has deepened its socialist orientation and has continued its steady rise, remaining on course to overtake the United States as the world’s single largest economy, a change unseen in well over a century. As President Xi Jinping first said in 2017, socialism with Chinese characteristics, “offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.”
  • Under the leadership of President Putin, Russia has regained its dignity and self-respect and is once more a powerful and dependable ally of the Global South.
  • Starting with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, and with the great example of socialist Cuba to follow, Latin America, considered by the United States to be its hereditary backyard for centuries, has advanced to the forefront of the struggle for independence and social progress.

One might say that on a state level, the anti-colonial forces have never been stronger and more cohesive. And it is precisely for this reason that imperialism has responded with a ‘new cold war’ targeted on Russia and China in particular.

Viewed in this light, it becomes clear that Russia’s current Special Military Operation represents a historic counterattack against the global colonial forces represented, in particular, by the US-led NATO alliance. This explains, for example, the outpouring of support for Russia in such long downtrodden countries as Mali, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic, even if it leaves most of the western left in a state of impotence and incoherence.

We have just observed the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, the turning point in World War II. Today, once again, the multinational people of Russia stand on the frontlines of the struggle for civilization and against barbarism. I have no doubt they will prevail.


Thank you for your attention.


Writings of Keith Bennett