From Workers’ International News, Vol.2 No.7, July 1939, p.3.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
The crisis over Tientsin has arisen as a result of an attempt by the Japanese imperialist bandits to profit from the preoccupation of their British rivals in another quarrel. The uproar in the British press over the manhandling, stripping, searching and insulting of British subjects is designed to cover up the real issue at stake, namely, the struggle for the control of Chinese currency and markets.
The Japanese military cliques, emboldened by the rapidly developing war crisis in north-eastern Europe have struck a blow at the harassed British in the attempt to capture for themselves the sole right to exploit China as a colony.
The venture in China has not proved for the Japanese the quick success that they anticipated when hostilities were commenced more than two years ago. Enormous burdens have been placed on the already precarious structure of Japanese finance and economy, while the Japanese workers and peasants under the whip of patriotic propaganda have been loaded with a task beyond their strength. They are rapidly reaching the end of their endurance, a fact which goads their taskmasters on to deeds of ever greater desperation. Thus arises the provocative acts of the Japanese in the treaty ports.
The Japanese demand that British help to Chiang-kai-Shek cease, that arms and money and other aid be cut off from China, that Britain bring pressure to bear on the Chinese to force them to capitulate. Certain concessions are offered in return for these services.
For their own ends the British imperialists have been prolonging the struggle in the Far East by rendering help to the Chinese, but the nature of those ends is indicated by the attempts to come to terms with the Japanese in secret discussions at Tokyo. A robbers agreement is under discussion and the question at issue is only the respective shares of plunder that are to fall to the competing bandits.
The British capitalists demand their “rights” in China, gained under the plundering treaties which were wrung from the Chinese by force of arms. And they have no more ardent champions of those “rights” than the “Labour” and “Communist” leaders who denounce Japanese “insolence,” demand “a firm stand” and clamour for “protection” of British claims louder than the capitalists themselves. They attempt to justify this treachery as aid for the Chinese people.
Only workers independent action, by boycott, by refusal to handle goods for or from Japan, can help the Chinese people. By demanding the restoration to China of the privileges and plunder wrung from them by imperialist conquest, by demanding the abolition of all imperialist “rights” gained under the treaties, not only will the Chinese people be aided but a blow will be struck at imperialism as well.
The outcry of the “Labour” and “Communist” traitors aims at lining up the British workers to serve as cannon fodder for the imperialists, in a war for Chinese plunder. The struggle of the British workers is not against Japanese imperialism alone but against all imperialism.
Last updated on 11.9.2005