5 January 2009 Edit


(In studying the successful organizational tactics, we should not forget about the unsuccessful organizational tactics.)

Russia + China: “Both were overwhelmingly agrarian societies, with unresolved democratic tasks and a small but rapidly growing working class.” The study of the two revolutions should be done simultaneously

China faced the urgent tasks of, firstly, national unification and independence from the divisions created by the warlords and the imperialist powers, and secondly, agrarian reform for hundreds of millions of poor peasants who hungered for land and an end to the barbarities of semi-feudal exploitation. But the Chinese bourgeoisie proved itself to be even more venal than its Russian counterpart—dependent on imperialism, incapable of integrating the nation, organically tied to the landlords and rural usurers and thus unable to carry out land reform. Above all, it was deeply fearful of the young and combative Chinese working class

Although physically small—a few million in a population of over 400 million—the Chinese proletariat was being propelled by the world contradictions of capitalism to take a leading role in the revolutionary struggles of the early twentieth century. The failure of the first Chinese revolution in 1911, under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, demonstrated that the Chinese bourgeoisie was utterly incapable of accomplishing its own historical tasks.

Inspired by the classical bourgeois revolutions in America and France, Sun advocated the "Three People's Principles"—the overthrow of the imperial system, a democratic republic and the nationalisation of land. However, Sun made no attempt to build a mass political movement and largely confined himself to conspiratorial activities of small armed putsches or terrorist actions against individual Manchu officials.

The so-called "revolution" in 1911 involved simply a tap that knocked over a thoroughly rotten structure. Financially, the imperial government was on the verge of bankruptcy after decades of plundering by Western powers. Politically, the Manchu court was completely discredited after the imperialist powers annexed Chinese territory either in the form of colonies such as Hong Kong or Taiwan, or as "concessions" in port cities where foreign troops, police and legal system held sway. In 1900, the moribund Manchu dynasty had to rely on foreign troops to put down the Boxer Rebellion—a widespread anti-colonial uprising by peasants and the urban poor.

When the Manchu dynasty finally promised constitutional reform, it was too late. Significant sections of the Chinese bourgeoisie, bureaucracy and military had turned to Sun Yat-sen. On October 10, 1911, thousands of troops in Wuchang in Hubei province staged a rebellion and proclaimed a republic. The revolt rapidly spread across many Chinese provinces, but the lack of any genuine mass movement left vested interests untouched. The result was a loosely federated "Republic of China" with Sun as provisional president.

This new republic, however, was actually in the hands of the old military-bureaucratic apparatus, which opposed any attempt to give land to the peasantry. Sun rapidly compromised with these reactionary forces, wanting only international recognition for the Chinese republic. But the imperialist powers demanded Sun hand the presidency to the last Manchu dynasty prime minister Yuan Shikai, who was regarded by the Great Powers as a more reliable ruler

in August 1922, the Comintern leadership ordered the CCP to join the KMT as individual party members.

The CCP opposed the decision, but its objections were suppressed by the Comintern leadership under Zinoviev. Zinoviev justified the decision on the basis that the liberal-democratic KMT was the "only serious national-revolutionary group" in China. The independent working class movement was still weak, so the small CCP had to enter the KMT to expand its influence.

CCP and KMT front 1936

United front between CCP and KMT against Japan in December 1936

in November 1937, Trotsky wrote to Harold Isaacs: "[T]he entering in itself in 1922 was not a crime, possibly not even a mistake, especially in the south, under the assumption that the Kuomintang at this time had a number of workers and the young Communist party was weak and composed almost entirely of intellectuals ... In this case the entry would have been an episodic step to independent [sic], analogous to a certain degree to your entering the Socialist Party. The question is what was their purpose in entering and what was their subsequent policy?"

As Stalin assumed control of the Comintern, he viewed the CCP's entry into the KMT not as a step towards building an independent mass party, but increasingly as a long-term policy aimed at achieving a bourgeois democratic revolution in China. In Stalin's eyes, the significance of the KMT far outweighed that of the Chinese section of the Comintern. In 1917, such a view would have been denounced by the Bolsheviks as a political capitulation to the bourgeoisie. But now Stalin was imposing this policy on China, claiming it represented the continuation of Leninism and the heritage of the October Revolution.

Following the Third Congress of the Comintern, the CCP formally called on all party members to join the KMT and virtually abandoned its own independent activity. When the Comintern dispatched Mikhail Borodin as its new delegate to China, he acted as an adviser to the KMT, which was restructured from top to bottom along Bolshevik organisational lines. Ten leading CCP members were placed into the KMT Central Executive Committee, about a quarter of the total. Communist cadres often directly took over aspects of the KMT's work. – CCP practices entryism into KMT, and hence the result…

in the strike struggle in Japanese-run textile factories in Shanghai, a communist worker was shot, provoking anti-imperialist protests in the city. On May 30, thousands of students and workers protested outside a police station in Shanghai to demand the release of the arrested demonstrators. British police opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding dozens.

This "May 30th Incident" triggered an unprecedented eruption of the working class that marked the beginning of the Second Chinese Revolution. Some 125 strikes involving 400,000 workers took place, along with mass protests and riots across the country. Three weeks later, on June 23, 1925 when workers and students demonstrated in Guangzhou, Anglo-French military police shot and killed 52 people. Upon hearing of the massacre, Hong Kong workers responded with a general strike. 100,000 workers left Hong Kong and a boycott of British goods was declared, under the direction of a Canton-Hong Kong Strike Committee.

Stalin believes that “in countries such as China, imperialist oppression drew together all "progressive" forces—the national bourgeoisie, petty bourgeois intelligentsia, peasantry and working class—into "a bloc of four classes". – hence, Mao’s policy, and China’s flag

On March 20, 1926, Chiang suddenly carried out a coup to tighten his stranglehold over the KMT. He not only toppled the so-called "left-wing" KMT leadership, but also detained 50 prominent communists and placed all Soviet advisers under house arrest. He disarmed the Canton-Hong Kong Strike Committee and effectively established himself as a military dictator in Guangzhou.

Trotsky: “The participation of the CCP in the Kuomintang was perfectly correct in the period when the CCP was a propaganda society which was only preparing itself for future independent political activity but which, at the same time, sought to take part in the ongoing national liberation struggle. The last two years have seen the rise of a mighty strike wave among the Chinese workers... This very fact confronts the CCP with the task of graduating from the preparatory class it now finds itself into a higher grade. Its immediate political task must now be to fight for direct independent leadership of the awakened working class”

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