Li Fu-jen

Save U.S. Business in China, Is C.P. Appeal

New Masses Ask Roosevelt to Intervene for American Capital

(September 1937)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 1 No. 7, 25 September 1937, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

To meet the situation created by Japan’s assault, a revolutionary workers’ party would place demonstrations of proletarian solidarity with the Chinese workers and peasants, and efforts to organize workers’ sanctions against the robber imperialists, at the center of its activity.

The Stalinists, however, pay only lip service to revolutionary principles. Actually they have emerged as the social-patriotic defenders of American imperialist interests in China and they appeal to the Washington government in thinly-veiled terms to defend those interests against Japan in concert with other “peace-loving” imperialist powers.

In some cases, as we shall show, the appeal for war is not even formally based on defense of the Chinese masses against the Japanese imperialists, but upon the preservation of Wall Street profits and investments. Indeed, the Roosevelt government has not voiced anything like the concern over American “interests” in the Far East that the Stalinists express. As always, the flunkey is more vociferous than the master.

“Collective Security”

The Daily Worker, as the official mouthpiece of the Stalinists, still finds it necessary to use rather guarded language in expounding its betrayal of the principles of revolutionary internationalism. Its editorial comments on the Sino-Japanese war consist in the main of vague mumblings about the necessity for applying a system of “collective security” in the Pacific.

It has been left to such unofficial organs as the New Masses and China Today to unfold the full social-patriotic line in all its vulgar splendor. This is part of the Stalinist system of double bookkeeping. Should need arise, these journals can always be repudiated.

Jingoes At Work

In a featured article by Theodore Draper on September 14, the New Masses devotes two full pages to the most blatant propaganda for imperialist war that has ever disgraced a journal pretending to serve the interests of the exploited and oppressed. The writer, a well-known party member, copies the style and ideas of such bourgeois commentators on Far Eastern affairs as Nathaniel Peffer, notorious as an advocate of war by American imperialism against Japan.

“We,” says Draper (the “we” meaning Draper, the New Masses and the imperialist government at Washington), “have continually postponed coming to grips with the real issues.” He is complaining that the robber barons of Wall Street have allowed the Japanese imperialists to get away with too much in China and that it is time to call a halt.

Recruiting Officer Draper

The pronouns “we” and “our” are used by this Stalinist flag-waver just as they might be used by any bourgeois writer. Not so much as a hint is given that the Roosevelt government is a government of the bourgeoisie and that the workers must therefore necessarily be hostile to all its aims. Class lines are completely obliterated.

“The Roosevelt administration, like its predecessors,” Draper continues, “is still hamstrung by the gap between promise and achievement (it has warned Japan, you see, but has never really acted – L.F.J.). The Japanese themselves are keenly aware of our unsatisfactory role in the Far East and they are counting upon it to continue ... The Roosevelt administration, however, is probably faced with a choice far graver than that confronted by previous administrations. The question arises: how much longer is it possible to postpone concrete action to restore peace and China’s sovereignty in the Far East?”

Poisoned Pill

The references to “peace” and “China’s sovereignty’’ are the sugar-coating for the poisoned pill of social-patriotism. The traitors of the Second International employed in 1914 such phrases as “freedom and democracy” and “defense of the fatherland.” The Stalinists know full well, however, that American imperialism cannot be driven to fight a war to preserve “peace” and “China’s sovereignty.” They must prod Washington with more telling arguments. Listen to Draper!

“It is good business for the United States to keep China’s vast but undeveloped resources out of Japanese control, despite the short-sighted attitude, from the viewpoint of their own self-interest, of some big business men in this country.

“Secondly, China remains the greatest potential market and source of capital investment in the world ... Our present stake in China is but a tiny fraction of our potential stake in a unified and revivified China. Political friendship would be a first-rate business asset.”

Flunkeys in Line

China as a business asset to American imperialism! The Chinese workers as fit subjects for exploitation by the money-bags of Wall Street! Surely enough, American imperialism is girding for the march to its goal of world domination. The Stalinist flunkeys of imperialism have fallen into line even before the first bugle has sounded the call to arms.

The magazine China Today, which describes itself as an organ of the “Friends of the Chinese People,” dispenses similar social-patriotic poison. In the September issue, R.A. Howell calls for an all-in (?) imperialist war against Japan. Like Draper (perhaps they are one and the the same person), he wants American imperialism to go to war with Japan to protect its business interests in China and, also like Draper, he wants the true aims camouflaged so that the support of the masses for the imperialist war may foe assured. Listen again:

Plan to Deceive

Resistance to aggressors will not be effective if it is limited to defense of lives and property, for the broadest support of the peoples cannot be mobilized behind such a policy.” From the imperialists themselves the Stalinists have learned how necessary it is to drug the masses with false ideals and specious promises in Order to get them to fight the dirty battles of their exploiters.

Meanwhile the bourgeois-Kuomintang government of China, facing certain defeat in the military struggle because it fears to arouse the masses and draw them actively into the war against

Japan, also makes groveling appeals for imperialist intervention. Wang Chung-hui, Nanking’s foreign minister, in an interview published in the New York Times, September 18, emphasized China’s regret over the American isolationist attitude toward the Chino-Japanese warfare.

Real Intervention

Only four days earlier U.S. Marines went into action against striking Chinese flour-mill workers at Shanghai, as a result of which 25 were sent to hospital suffering from the effects of tear gas and scalp wounds. This incident perturbed the Chinese bourgeois minister no more than it did the Daily Worker, which published the report without a single word in condemnation of the use of forces of American imperialism for strike-breaking in China.

Wang “echoed recent Chinese arguments for intervention saying it seemed to him that materialistic, not to mention moral, considerations demanded such a step. He professed his inability to decide whether powers such as Great Britain and the United States were reconciled to abandoning their trade, investments and influence in China, which he said would certainly result from a Japanese victory.” This from the representative of a government which, if we were to believe the Stalinists (as we do not) is putting up a “fight to a finish” against Japanese imperialism!

All In Together

A united front – the bourgeois-Kuomintang government, the “peace-loving” imperialists, and the Stalinists! It remains only for the workers to recognize the fact of this united front and its inevitable consequences – betrayal of the workers and oppressed everywhere.

Last updated on 19 November 2014