National liberation movement

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National Liberation Movement is a Marxist-Leninist doctrinaire tenet to justify subversion by any means, including violence, against legitimate "capitalist" or "bourgeois" regimes. The terms national revolutionary movement or national liberation struggle are also used interchangeably. The doctrine was articulated by V.I. Lenin in 1916:

The social revolution cannot come about except in the form of an epoch of proletarian civil war against the bourgeoisie in the advanced countries combined with a whole series of democratic and revolutionary movements, including movements for national liberation, in the undeveloped, backward and oppressed nations.[1]

Once the Bolsheviks were in power in Russia however, any attempt on the part of the subjugated peoples to break away from the Socialist Union of nations was considered counter-revolutionary activity.[2]

There were literally hundreds of national liberation movements receiving weapons, terrorist and military training, and ideological indoctrination in revolutionary theory from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Among the more famous is the Chinese Communist Party, the Cuban revolutionaries of Fidel Castro, the Viet Minh, the Sandinistas, SWAPO (Southwest Africa Peoples Organization), the ANC (African National Congress), and the PLO.


  1. V. I. Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism and 'Imperialist Economism,'' (August–October 1916), Lenin on Proletarian Revolution and Proletarian Dictatorship (Peking, Foreign Languages Press, 1960), p. 55.
  2. J. L. Talmon, The Unique and the Universal, Secker & Warburg, London 1965, p. 56.