The Fundamental Contradiction

The fundamental contradiction under capitalism is between the socialized nature of production and the private ownership of the means of production. That is wealth that is socially produced by the proletariat (working class) is privately expropriated by the bourgeoisie (capitalist class). As Mao explained in “On Contradiction”:

“[Marx] discovered that the basic contradiction of this society is the contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of ownership. This contradiction manifests itself in the contradiction between the organized character of production in individual enterprises and the anarchic character of production in society as a whole. In terms of class relations, it manifests itself in the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.”

What is the fundamental contradiction? Mao defines it as that contradiction which determines the essence of a whole process, which “will not disappear until the process is completed.” (Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 325) In other words, until the socialized character of production is matched by socialized ownership and control of production and of society as a whole.

The purpose of the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution is to resolve this fundamental contradiction by advancing the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie all the way to the elimination of classes. Thus capitalism is overthrown by socialism, which evolves into worldwide, classless, stateless society – or communism.


The Principal Contradiction

Mao explained: “There are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing, and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions.”

“But whatever happens, there is no doubt at all that at every stage in the development of a process, there is only one principal contradiction which plays the leading role.

“Hence, if in any process there are a number of contradictions, one of them must be the principal contradiction playing the leading and decisive role, while the rest occupy a secondary and subordinate position. Therefore, in studying any complex process in which there are two or more contradictions, we must devote every effort to finding its principal contradiction. Once this principal contradiction is grasped, all problems can be readily solved. This is the method Marx taught us in his study of capitalist society. Likewise, Lenin and Stalin taught us this method when they studied imperialism and the general crisis of capitalism and when they studied the Soviet economy. There are thousands of scholars and men of action who do not understand it, and the result is that, lost in a fog, they are unable to get to the heart of a problem and naturally cannot find a way to resolve its contradictions.

“As we have said, one must not treat all the contradictions in a process as being equal but must distinguish between the principal and the secondary contradictions, and pay special attention to grasping the principal one. But, in any given contradiction, whether principal or secondary, should the two contradictory aspects be treated as equal? Again, no. In any contradiction the development of the contradictory aspects is uneven. Sometimes they seem to be in equilibrium, which is however only temporary and relative, while unevenness is basic. Of the two contradictory aspects, one must be principal and the other secondary. The principal aspect is the one playing the leading role in the contradiction. The nature of a thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect which has gained the dominant position.

“But this situation is not static; the principal and the non-principal aspects of a contradiction transform themselves into each other and the nature of the thing changes accordingly. In a given process or at a given stage in the development of a contradiction, A is the principal aspect and B is the non-principal aspect; at another stage or in another process the roles are reversed–a change determined by the extent of the increase or decrease in the force of each aspect in its struggle against the other in the course of the development of a thing.

“We often speak of ‘the new superseding the old.’ The supersession of the old by the new is a general, eternal and inviolable law of the universe. The transformation of one thing into another, through leaps of different forms in accordance with its essence and external conditions–this is the process of the new superseding the old. In each thing there is contradiction between its new and its old aspects, and this gives rise to a series of struggles with many twists and turns. As a result of these struggles, the new aspect changes from being minor to being major and rises to predominance, while the old aspect changes from being major to being minor and gradually dies out. And the moment the new aspect gains dominance over the old, the old thing changes qualitatively into a new thing. It can thus be seen that the nature of a thing is mainly determined by the principal aspect of the contradiction, the aspect which has gained predominance. When the principal aspect which has gained predominance changes, the nature of a thing changes accordingly.” (“On Contradiction”)

The Central Committee of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) has summed up that at this time, the principal contradiction in the world is between the need of the imperialist ruling circle to consolidate its global hegemony and the chaos and anarchy – including the danger of instigating nuclear war – it is unleashing on the world by attempting to so.

Since its victory in the “Cold War,” U.S. Imperialism has been driven to consolidate its global hegemony, expending a huge portion of its national resources on military spending – in 2015, some $598.5 billion – to maintain global dominance, including some 1,000 overseas bases and instillations with personnel in 156 countries. According to the Centre for Global Research:

“The 2000 Global Report published in 1980 had outlined “the State of the World” by focusing on so-called “level of threats” which might negatively influence or undermine US interests.

“Twenty years later, US strategists, in an attempt to justify their military interventions in different parts of the World, have conceptualized the greatest fraud in US history, namely “the Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT). The latter, using a fabricated pretext constitutes a global war against all those who oppose US hegemony. A modern form of slavery, instrumented through militarization and the ‘free market’ has unfolded.

“Major elements of the conquest and world domination strategy by the US refer to:

“1) the control of the world economy and its financial markets,

“2) the taking over of all natural resources (primary resources and nonrenewable sources of energy). The latter constitute the cornerstone of US power through the activities of its multinational corporations.”

Since 911, the U.S. has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, created anarchy in Libya and Syria, created civil war in the Ukraine, and killed well over a million civilians. But these conflicts are but the tip of the iceberg, as The Nation pointed out in an article by Nick Turse, “America’s Secret War in 134 Countries,” (Jan. 16, 2014):

“They operate in the green glow of night vision in Southwest Asia and stalk through the jungles of South America. They snatch men from their homes in the Maghreb and shoot it out with heavily armed militants in the Horn of Africa. They feel the salty spray while skimming over the tops of waves from the turquoise Caribbean to the deep blue Pacific. They conduct missions in the oppressive heat of Middle Eastern deserts and the deep freeze of Scandinavia. All over the planet, the Obama administration is waging a secret war whose full extent has never been fully revealed—until now.

“Since September 11, 2001, US Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, from their numbers to their budget. Most telling, however, has been the exponential rise in special ops deployments globally. This presence—now, in nearly 70 percent of the world’s nations—provides new evidence of the size and scope of a secret war being waged from Latin America to the backlands of Afghanistan, from training missions with African allies to information operations launched in cyberspace.

“In the waning days of the Bush presidency, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed in about sixty countries around the world. By 2010, that number had swelled to seventy-five, according to Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post. In 2011, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that the total would reach 120. Today, that figure has risen higher still.

“In 2013, elite US forces were deployed in 134 countries around the globe, according to Major Matthew Robert Bockholt of SOCOM Public Affairs. This 123 percent increase during the Obama years demonstrates how, in addition to conventional wars and a CIA drone campaign, public diplomacy and extensive electronic spying, the US has engaged in still another significant and growing form of overseas power projection. Conducted largely in the shadows by America’s most elite troops, the vast majority of these missions take place far from prying eyes, media scrutiny, or any type of outside oversight, increasing the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences.”

The Nation article goes on to point out that SOCOM has branched out to include Cyberspace with a growing network of covert propaganda websites made to look like legitimate news outlets aimed at foreign audiences. These include “, Sabahi which targets the Horn of Africa; an effort aimed at the Middle East known as; and another targeting Latin America called”

Establishing hegemony over Afrika has become a particular focus of U.S. Imperialism with the formation of AFRICOM in 2008, combining the activities of three separate military commands. It is responsible for military relations and operations in 53 Afrikan nations (excepting Egypt which is under the Central Command). AS Nick Turse reported in Black Agenda Report (12/08/2015):

“In the shadows of what was once called the ‘dark continent,’ a scramble has come and gone. If you heard nothing about it, that was by design. But look hard enough and — north to south, east to west — you’ll find the fruits of that effort: a network of bases, compounds, and other sites whose sum total exceeds the number of nations on the continent. For a military that has stumbled from Iraq to Afghanistan and suffered setbacks from Libya to Syria, it’s a rare can-do triumph. In remote locales, behind fences and beyond the gaze of prying eyes, the U.S. military has built an extensive archipelago of African outposts, transforming the continent, experts say, into a laboratory for a new kind of war.”

Turse concludes:

“Over many months, AFRICOM repeatedly ignored even basic questions from this reporter about America’s sweeping archipelago of bases.  In practical terms, that means there is no way to know with complete certainty how many of the more than 60 bases, bunkers, outposts, and areas of access are currently being used by U.S. forces or how many additional sites may exist.  What does seem clear is that the number of bases and other sites, however defined, is increasing, mirroring the rise in the number of U.S. troops, special operations deployments, and missions in Africa.

“’There’s going to be a network of small bases with maybe a couple of medium-altitude, long-endurance drones at each one, so that anywhere on the continent is always within range,’ says the Oxford Research Group’s Richard Reeve when I ask him for a forecast of the future.  In many ways, he notes, this has already begun everywhere but in southern Africa, not currently seen by the U.S. military as a high-risk area.

“The Obama administration, Reeve explains, has made use of humanitarian rhetoric as a cover for expansion on the continent. He points in particular to the deployment of forces against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa, the build-up of forces near Lake Chad in the effort against Boko Haram, and the post-Benghazi New Normal concept as examples.  ‘But, in practice, what is all of this going to be used for?’ he wonders.  After all, the enhanced infrastructure and increased capabilities that today may be viewed by the White House as an insurance policy against another Benghazi can easily be repurposed in the future for different types of military interventions.

“’Where does this go post-Obama?’ Reeve asks rhetorically, noting that the rise of AFRICOM and the proliferation of small outposts have been ‘in line with the Obama doctrine.’  He draws attention to the president’s embrace of a lighter-footprint brand of warfare, specifically a reliance on Special Operations forces and drones.  This may, Reeve adds, just be a prelude to something larger and potentially more dangerous.

“’Where would Hillary take this?’ he asks, referencing the hawkish Democratic primary frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.  ‘Or any of the Republican potentials?’  He points to the George W. Bush administration as an example and raises the question of what it might have done back in the early 2000s if AFRICOM’s infrastructure had already been in place.  Such a thought experiment, he suggests, could offer clues to what the future might hold now that the continent is dotted with American outposts, drone bases, and compounds for elite teams of Special Operations forces.  ‘I think,’ Reeve says, ‘that we could be looking at something a bit scarier in Africa.’”


Prospects for Revolution

The principal aspect of the principal contradiction in the world is the drive of the monopoly capitalist ruling class to consolidate its global hegemony, breaking down the barriers to commerce and restructuring national economies and institutions to serve its own interests. Everywhere, they back the most reactionary elements to promote their neoliberal agenda. But everywhere resistance to the local reactionaries is/must be secondary to resistance to their imperialist masters. Thus the oppressed of the whole world are being drawn together to overthrow the common foe.

With the secondary aspect of the principal contradiction being the spread of anarchy and chaos, including the danger of nuclear war, there are all sorts of unforeseen consequences that are unleashed as “blow back” from the ruling class’s obsession with consolidating its global hegemony. The militarization of the police in the U.S. is a direct consequence of the phony “War on Terror,” which is directly connected to the outrageous rise in police murders of unarmed civilians, particularly Blacks and other people of color in the working class communities. Money cut from programs to rebuild Amerika’s crumbling infrastructure to fund military adventures abroad and tax cuts for the rich creates situations like the poisoned water in Flint, Michigan. While the U.S. pours billions in aid to Israel, where college tuition is free, U.S. students are saddled with unbearable student loans.

In other words, the development of the principal contradiction is affecting the development of the fundamental contradiction to sharpen the class struggle and create public opinion in favor of dethroning the capitalist ruling class and replacing capitalist-imperialism with socialism. As Mao summed up, Revolution equals “Create Public Opinion Seize Power.”


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