Stalinists Betray China Struggle by ‘New Line’

Shanghai Students Forget The Lessons Of 1925-27, Hail Imperialist Troops As “Our British Friends”

(November 1937)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 1 No. 13, 6 November 1937, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

When the Russian proletariat, under the leadership of the Bolsheviks, ended the rule of the capitalists and landlords twenty years ago, they established not the prerequisites for building an isolated socialist society on one-sixth of the earth’s surface, but a point of departure and support for the world-wide proletarian revolution. The October revolution afforded an exemplary inspiration not only for the toilers of the capitalist countries of the west, but also for the oppressed peoples of the colonies and semi-colonies – above all China, where a youthful proletariat was striking out on the path of revolution.

The October tradition played no small part in the great Chinese Revolution of 1925–27, but the opportunist policies of the Chinese Communist Party, dictated to it by the dominant Stalin-Bukharin faction in the Comintern, brought the revolution to tragic disaster. Those same policies have been revived again today in China, but in a crasser and more monstrous form. The interests of the Chinese workers and peasants, if the “Communists” have their way, are to be wholly subordinated to the requirements of Soviet foreign policy.

Kuomintang Gets Red Army

What remains of the Chinese Communist Party has become almost an integral part of the bourgeois Kuomintang. The “Soviet Government of China” has been liquidated. The “Red Army” has been virtually dissolved and brought under the high command of Nanking. With almost unbelievable shamelessness, the Chinese Stalinists have abandoned the cause of the downtrodden peasantry and act as open strikebreakers against the workers.

All this has been and is being done in the interests of a “People’s Anti-Japanese United Front,” just as in 1927 the Chinese revolution was betrayed and wrecked in the name of a “national united front.” All the prestige of the October Revolution is being employed by the Stalinist epigones to strangle the beginnings of the new Chinese revolution by harnessing the Chinese workers and peasants to the chariot of the national bourgeoisie. Stalin needs an ally in the Far East against Japan. He wants China to fight Japan so that Japan will be unable to fight the Soviet Union. It is for this reason that Moscow ordered the liquidation of “Communism” in China. This was the price which Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese bourgeoisie demanded for a diplomatic deal with Moscow and “resistance” against Japan.

Agents for Britain

The new Stalinist line in China is already bearing poisonous fruit. Last week, three British soldiers were killed by Japanese gun-fire at Shanghai. At the subsequent funeral, according to press dispatches, “thousands of Chinese students lined the cemetery walls and later paraded through Shanghai streets carrying banners which read: “Long live our British friends.”

How short is human memory! On May 30, 1925, British police fired on demonstrating workers and students in Shanghai, killing nine and wounding scores. A few short weeks later, British troops opened fire on a demonstration of Chinese students at Shameen, in Canton, killing 52 and wounding 117. In the following year there was the British naval bombardment of Wanhsien, Yangtze River port, resulting in heavy casualties. And in 1927, British warships, combining with American, Japanese and Italian naval units, poured shells into Nanking. But that was all 10–12 years ago. Imperialist Britain has since been promoted into the ranks of “peace-loving” powers. Hence, the British soldiers now at Shanghai, although sent for the sole purpose of “protecting British lives and property” (read British imperialist interests) are hailed by Stalinist-trained Chinese students as “our British friends.”

How Bolsheviks Defend China

The new Stalinist-Kuomintang alliance, instead of promoting and assisting China’s struggle for national independence against imperialism, will result in the betrayal of that struggle. The national struggle is closely bound up with the class struggle and cannot be separated from it. Any policy which hinders and betrays the class struggle militates against the national struggle. It was not so very long ago that the Stalinists themselves recognized this fact. Thus the Sixth World Congress of the Comintern in 1928 affirmed that “the Party must explain to the masses the impossibility of a radical improvement in their position, the impossibility of the overthrow of imperialist domination ... without the overthrow from power of the Kuomintang and militarists and the creation of the rule of Soviets.”

Much later, at the Thirteenth Plenum of the E.C.C.I. in December 1933, Wang Ming, the Chinese representative, declared that “the overthrow of the Kuomintang regime is a condition of the successful prosecution of the the national-revolutionary war against Japanese and other imperialisms.”

Today, Wang Ming announces: “We, Chinese Communists, openly declare that we support the Kuomintang and the Nanking government, and will fight shoulder to shoulder with them against Japanese imperialism.”

Revolutionists must of course support the struggle against Japanese imperialism, but the progressive character of the national war is no excuse for giving political support to Chiang Kai-shek. Any such support is a betrayal.

Stalinism thus becomes a prostitute agency of the national bourgeoisie, and by that measure a prostitute agency of imperialism. The revolutionary Marxists, in China as elsewhere, have the task of tearing the standard of the October Revolution, the great traditions of Bolshevism, out of the hands of these traitors and leading the workers and the oppressed peoples out onto the clear road of the proletarian revolution.

Last updated on 19 November 2014