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Sam Adams

Behind the “Civil War” in China

(5 November 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 45, 5 November 1945, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The beginnings of warfare have broken out between the government forces of Chiang Kai-shek and the “Communist” armies of the North. Whether the present skirmishes will develop into a full-scale civil war is difficult to determine at this time since the dominant forces in China ‘are not the two contending armies, but two foreign powers, the United States and Russia. These will decide whether the time is ripe to test their respective strengths and to determine who shall be dominant in China.

The struggle in China, reported as a conflict over who will control the North, actually reflects the rivalries of the Big Three powers. Anyone who believes that this struggle is a conflict between a reactionary Chinese government and a “Communist” army which seeks to change the social order in China for the benefit of the people will go astray.

The so-called Communist armies of the Yenan are Stalinist armies. They represent the interests of Stalinist imperialism in that country in the same way that the Stalinist parties do in all other countries.

After Russo-Chinese Treaty

Shortly after the Japanese surrender, a Russo-Chinese treaty was signed which recognized Chiang’s sovereignty over the whole nation. In exchange from this wholly gratuitous acknowledgment, Russia received special concessions from Chiang. After this treaty, negotiations between Chungking and Yenan were opened and a “basis of understanding” was reported.

Why,‘then, has the present civil war broken out? It should be clear that the “Communist” armies of Yenan are not acting independently, but reflect the policy of the Kremlin. They are at war with Chiang because it serves the interests of Stalin in his present difficult relations with the United States and Britain. Stalin has issued a warning:

If you do not grant my European and Far Eastern demands, if you insist on keeping the secrets of atomic bomb production, if you do not want to reach an agreement, with me as to my interests in world affairs, I have the means to make it extremely difficult for you. I can call upon my international supporters to go into action. I have done that in the Balkans, in Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy and France. I can do it in China, and here is a sample of it. But I can also prevent such embarrassing situations from arising. I can call off my legions. But for that you must accede to my demands or guarantee your willingness to reach an understanding with me.

Do Stalin and his ruling regime actually say these words? No; they do not have to. The rulers of Great Britain and the United States understand the show of force

Big Three Conflict

The heart of the Chinese situation is to be sought, then, in the antagonisms which, exist among the big powers, which regard China as one of their battlegrounds.

Do you want proof of this? Observe the reaction of the Communist Party in this country. Its knows what its role is, The War is over. The United Nations coalition is not now an urgent requirement, since the Axis has been defeated. The previous support given to the. Washington Administration of Roosevelt and Truman, has now been withdrawn. But the support of the American Communist Party to Stalin and the Russian ruling class remains as ever loyal and persevering.

Stalin’s U.S. Puppets

Through, its spokesman, William Z. Foster, the American Communist Party has denounced the war in North China as an unwarranted attack upon Yenan by Generalissimo Chiang. It denounced American interference in China, charging the State Department with inciting the Chungking government to make this attack on the Yenan forces.

To lend force to its position, it issues the slogan: Let Northern China Alone! It calls for the removal of American warships and marines from across Port Arthur Bay with the question: What are “our” troops and ships doing in China? It does not say a word about Russian armed forces in China. It does not say a word about Russian interests in China, except to defend them.

Here you have additional evidence of the true nature, of the Communist Party in this country (which is the same as all Communist Parties in all other countries). It is carrying out Stalin’s polity in this country with an apparently anti-imperialist propaganda which is really pro-Stalinist imperialism.

If the United States, Great Britain and Russia reach an understanding in international affairs and repair their rotting relationships, the Chinese conflict will end with the same suddenness with which it began. Then, too, you will observe the American Stalinist party end its “anti-imperialist” agitation and lend full support to whatever agreement is reached between the powers, no matter how detrimental it may he for the Chinese masses.

It is now more necessary than ever to raise the cry: Hands Off China! Let the Chinese masses, the hundreds of millions of workers and peasants, decide their own fate. Oust all imperialisms from China, and that includes the Stalinist variety, too. American military forces do not belong in China. Neither do the Russian. Both violate Chinese independence and integrity.

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Last updated on 26 January 2018