First Published: January, 1938, in an internal document of the US Socialist Workers Party of which Glass was then a member.
Source: Document provided by the Prometheus Research Library, New York City. It is almost certainly by Frank Glass and is cited by Baruch Hirson in the bibliography his biography of Glass.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Ted Crawford and David Walters
Copyleft: Frank Glass Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
1. The conflict in the Far East between China and Japan lays bare some of the principal symptoms of the crisis of world capitalism in its final, most highly developed, Imperialist stage, and at the same time opens up perspectives of great revolutionary development in a decisive part of the globe. Japan, weakest link in the chain of world imperialism, is seeking to overcome the maladies of its decline by a war of colonial conquest. By their invasion of China, the Japanese imperialists have provoked a defensive campaign which, despite its initial weakness and inadequacy under the leadership of the Kuomintang, assumes the character of a war for national liberation. At the same time, by the pursuit of their predatory aims in China, the Japanese imperialists have accentuated the inter-imperialist antagonisms which are forcing mankind to the brink of a new world war.
2. Japan, belatedly rising to the stature of an imperialist power toward the end of the nineteenth century, was confronted by a world already substantially divided among its imperialist rivals. The Japanese imperialists, moreover, were obliged to proceed from an exceedingly weak economic base in their plans of empire. Lacking such vital raw materials as coal and iron, oil and cotton, they were driven from the very outset to seek these supplies beyond the natural frontiers of Japan. Acquisition of sources of these raw materials was a condition, not only of expansion, but even of survival in the competitive world. The career of Japanese imperialism opened with the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, when Japan defeated China and seized Korea and Formosa. Ten years’ later, Japan vanquished Czarist Russia and took over the sphere of influence held by the latter in South Manchuria. During the World War of 1914-18, Japan seized the Chinese province of Shantung and presented China with the notorious “Twenty-one Demands,” which were designed to bring all China under Japanese control.
3. The destruction caused in Europe by the World War, creating an ever-increasing demand for products of all kinds, gave a mighty impetus to the development of Japanese industry. The growth of Japan’s productive forces during that period, however, intensified all the contradictions of Japanese economy. At the Versailles “peace” conference, Japan, as a junior partner of the Allied powers, received only a paltry share of the booty of war. After ceding to Japan a few Pacific islands formerly held by Germany, the Allied imperialists, at the Washington Conference in 1922, forced Japan to evacuate Shantung. They also compelled Japan to withdraw her troops from the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, where they had formed part of the inter-allied interventionist forces employed against the first workers’ state which had emerged from the October Revolution in Russia. These developments coincided with the erection of tariff and quota barriers—measures of extreme protectionism designed to overcome the post-war economic crisis in the countries of the west which dealt Japan double blows on the economic front. They not only curtailed Japan’s trade, but also threatened her supply of raw materials, for Japan depended on the proceeds of her export trade to finance raw material purchases abroad. The blows at Japan’s export trade consequently led to a drainage of the country’s gold reserves. A sharp currency crisis reflected the entire insecurity of the Japanese economic structure, which was damaged still further by the disastrous earthquake in 1923. Japanese capitalism was doomed to suffocate within its own national boundaries unless it could find a way out by means of colonial conquests.
4. China, geographically close to Japan, with a population of some 450,000,000 spread over a vast expanse of territory, rich in minerals and other basic raw materials, was the logical scene for Japanese imperialist expansion. In China, the Japanese imper-ialists saw the prospect of a “fundamental solution” of their most pressing economic difficulties. Contemplation of this prospect, moreover, opened up visions of imperial power and grandeur. China came to be viewed not only as the answer to economic problems, but as a jumping-off point for campaigns which would plant the banner of the Rising Sun in Siberia, at least as far as Lake Baikal, in India and Malaysia, in Indonesia, in Hawaii and the Philippines, in the Antipodes, to say nothing of South America and the western portion of the United States. That the Japanese imperialists did not earlier seek to bring all China under their control by means of war was due largely to fear of their powerful rivals in the West whose interests in China they would inevitably have to assail. The Chinese revolution of 1925-27 dictated to Japan a policy of watchful waiting, especially since the anti-imperialist wave of that period was being directed exclusively against Britain. The world economic crisis which, following the post-war reconstruction period, afflicted the capitalist world, gave Japan both her opportunity and an added spur to action. Taking advantage of the preoccupation of the Western powers with their own acute domestic problems, the Japanese imperialists seized Manchuria in 1931 and in the following year established than their puppet state of Manchukuo. In 1933. the province of Jehol was seized and annexed to Manchukuo. The Japanese imperialists followed this up by establishing a foothold in North China. The military frightfulness with which Japan is now scourging China represents a further stage in Japanese plans of colonial conquest.
5. China, a backward semi-colonial country, has been the victim of imperialist rapacity for more than a century. Imperialist guns ended China’s age-old seclusion and isolation, introduced modern industry and capitalist forms of exploitation into the country. The imperialists came to China first as traders. But with the rapid advance of industry in the West, and the growing accumulation of surplus value as a result of ever more intense labor exploitation, it was only a matter of time before China came to be regarded not only as a commodity market but as a lucrative field for the investment of capital as well. China’s inexhaustible supply of cheap labor proved a magnetic attraction for foreign capital. In a series of wars against which the decadent Manchu Dynasty proved impotent, the imperialist powers grabbed Chinese territory, established “concessons” in China’s principal cities, and wrested from China a series of “privileges” designed to protect their trade and investments. By limiting Chinese import duties to five per cent ad valorem, they assured the competitive position of their products in the China market. By controlling the collection and disbursement of Chinese customs revenues, they insured the payment of China’s rapidly-mounting foreign debts. By establishing the principle of “extra-territoriality” (capitulations), they gained exemption of their business enterprises from Chinese taxation and their nationals from the operation of Chinese law. The unequal treaties in which these “privileges” were embodied were the sign of China’s reduction to the status of a semi-colonial country.
6. Imperialist economic penetration shook China’s semi-feudal economy, bossed on agriculture and handicrafts, to its very foundations. Cheap commodities, manufactured in foreign-owned plants both in China and the countries of the West, penetrated the country along railroads built by the imperialists. The most im-portant section of the old ruling class, especially the Manchu officialdom, were converted into brokers for foreign capital (compradores). The special “privileges” which the imperialists exacted from China militated against the all-sided development of an independent Chinese capitalist economy and kept the country’s productive forces in a political strait-jacket. During the World War, however, Chinese industry, like the industry of Japan, received a great stimulus. The preoccupation of the major imperialist powers in the Western hemisphere, although giving rein to Japan’s colonial ambitions in China, nevertheless relieved the total imperialist pressure on the country. Native industry spurted forward.
7. It was during this period that the so-called “national” bourgeoisie, seeking to establish its own economic base in competition with the imperialists, began to emerge. The Chinese proletariat, drawn from the pauperised population of the villages, gained vastly in numerical strength and, as the result of groupment in large factories, in class consciousness and fighting spirit. When British imperialism, having overcome the post-war crisis, began to reassert itself in China, it was obliged to direct its guns against striking Chinese workers. Bloody massacres by British imperialist troops and police in 1926, in which workers and their student allies were the principal victims, stirred an anti-imperialist wave that threatened to engulf the whole structure of imperialist domination in China. The Chinese national bourgeoisie, irritated by the humiliations visited on them by the imperialists and seeing a chance to strike blows at their foreign trade Competitors, supported the anti-imperialist movement by means of judicious financial aid to workers on strike in imperialist enterprises. But when the strike movement spread or threatened to spread to native plants and when, moreover, it deepened into social revolution, the national bourgeoisie bared their class fangs and solidarized themselves with the imperialists against the workers.
8. Historic belatedness and the subjection of China by the imperialists deprived the Chinese bourgeoisie of that progressive role which had been played by its European forerunners in the bourgeois revolutions of the West. It could neither establish independent class roots in Chinese society nor assert itself as a sovereign master class. The compradores, direct agents of the imperialists recruited from among the landlords and merchants and the old Manchu officialdom, were the first representatives of Chinese capitalism. From the ranks of the compradores came the “national” bourgeoisie. A thousand threads of interpenetration, interdependence and mutual interest linked the national bourgeoisie to the compradors. Together they participated in the exploitation not only the proletariat, but also of the peasantry, since their interests were closely interlocked with those of the village exploiters. In this system of relationships lies the explanation for the utter inability of the Chinese bourgeoisie to conduct a consistent struggle against imperialism, to unify the country, or to solve the agrarian problem.
9. Because of the reactionary, weak and dependent character of the bourgeoisie, these national or democratic tasks became the tasks of the proletariat, a class which, alone of all the classes in society, has independent and progressive class goals and is devoid of any ties of mutual interest either with the imperialists or the native exploiters. The proletariat, in accordance with the law of combined development, had placed upon its shoulders the twin tasks of achieving solution of the national problems and of clearing a road for the socialist reconstruction of Chinese society by raising itself to the position of ruling class in alliance with all the exploited masses of the towns and villages. In 1925-27, when the wave of the revolution was rising, revolutionary policy demanded the orientation of the Chinese pro-letariat in accordance with this perspective.
10. But the Stalin-Bukharin leadership of the Communist International, turning their backs on all previous revolutionary experience, including the still fresh experience of Russia, resorted in China to the Menshevik policies which they had been prevented from carrying out in Russia in 1917. Counterposing the national tasks of the Chinese revolution to the emancipatory struggle of the workers and peasants, arbitrarily separating the two in accordance with a lifeless theory of “stages,” they declared the immediate tasks in China to be national unification and the expulsion of the imperialists. Moreover, the Stalinist bureaucracy, in line with the narrow nationalist conceptions which were already dominating Soviet policy, viewed the Chinese bourgeoisie as a possible ally against Great Britain, then the leader of the anti-Soviet capitalist front. Stalin-Bukharin therefore assigned to the Chinese bourgeoisie the leading role in the national struggle. They subordinated the Communist Party to the Kuomintang and the proletariat and peasantry to the bourgeoisie. The political formula for this subordination was the “bloc of four classes,” wherein the proletariat and the peasantry was supposed to be “united” with the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie for the “common” struggle against imperialism. The Communists were ordered to keep the strike movement and the activities of the peasants within limits acceptable to the bourgeoisie in order not to disturb the “national united front.” This opportunist betrayal of the revolution was passed off as Bolshevism on the youthful and inexperienced Chinese proletariat and the still more youthful and inexperienced Chinese Communist Party. At the height of the revolutionary wave, the bourgeoisie, under Chiang Kai-shek a leadership, made its peace with imperialism at the price of a few paltry concessions to its “national” sentiments and turned savagely on the unsuspecting workers and peasants who had been taught by the Communists to look upon the bourgeoisie as their leaders and saviors. The bourgeoisie sealed its alliance with imperialism in the blood of the insurgent masses.
11. On the ruins of the Chinese revolution of 1925-27 arose the counter-revolutionary Kuomintang regime. The workers returned to a slavery intensified by the new military dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek, who inaugurated a reign of terror and wiped out all the workers’ organisations. Militarist wars, evidence of the complete disunity of the country, revived on an unprecedented scale. The peasantry, scourged by landlordism, usury and military requisitioning, fell into deeper ruin: Imperialism, against which the “bloc of four classes” had been specifically directed, was able to strengthen all its commanding positions. The road was prepared for the subsequent invasion by Japan with its obvious threat to the Soviet Union. These were the real fruits of the Stalin-Bukharin policies in China.
12. From the fatal opportunist policies which they pursued in 1925-27 during the upsurge of the revolutionary wave, the Chinese Communists veered to the opposite extreme of adventurism in the period of the Kuomintang counter-revolution. After precipitating futile uprisings which culminated in the disastrous Canton putsch, thereby cutting themselves away from their working-class base, they transferred their activities to the rural interior. Deserting the prostrate proletariat in the cities, they placed themselves at the head of peasant armies which emerged as the spear-head of agrarian revolts during the ebb of the revolutionary tide. Although proceeding under the slogan of Soviets, which the Communists had rejected during the high tide of the revolution, but which became sanctified in “Third Period” policies, the peasant war did not succeed in evoking responses among the workers. Held down by Chiang Kai-shek’ s military dictatorship and a devastating economic crisis, disorganized still further by the “Red Trade Union” tactics of the Communists, held in passivity by the refusal of the Communists to unfold a program of democratic demands corresponding to their vital needs in the new counter-revolutionary situation, the workers drifted away from political activity. Chiang Kai-shek, unhindered by the proletariat, was finally able, at the end of 1934, to crush the isolated peasant Soviets, despite the many heroic battles fought by the peasant led armies.
13. The Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 found the Kuomintang regime waging a war of extermination against the revolting peasants and at the same time strengthening its counter-revolutionary dictatorship over the workers. Announcing a policy of “non-resistance” to Japanese imperialism Chiang Kai-shek proclaimed as his supreme tasks the wiping out of the insurgent peasant movement and the unification of the country, meaning thereby the establishment of Chiang’s own power over that of his provincial adversaries. The reverse side of the coin of non-resistance was a vigorous stamping-out of the rising anti-Japanese movement. Revealing anew the fundamental unity of interest between the imperialists and the national bourgeoisie, the non-resistance policy of the Kuomintang facilitated Japan’s invasion of China. The imperialists, on their part, were more than generous in aiding the Kuomintang to crush the peasants and keep the labor movement in a state of prostration.
14. While holding down the oppressed masses and retreating step by step before the Japanese Imperialists, the Kuomintang drew closer to British and American imperialism in the hope that these powers, fearful for their own interests in China, would be obliged to halt Japan’s onward march. There was also the hope that China would gain at least a breathing apace by Japan becoming embroiled with the USSR. But the devastating world economic crisis which coincided with Japan’s imperialist drive, together with their own military unpreparedness, compelled Britain and America to adopt a policy of watchful waiting in the Far East while encouraging the Kuomintang to resist Japan as far as it dared. The Stalinist bureaucracy temporarily wedded to the policy of the status quo, was prepared to make numerous concessions to Japan in order to insure the uninterrupted building of “socialism” within the borders of the Soviet Union. When aggravated internal difficulties and the immobilization of its principal rivals spurred Japan to military campaigns of increasing scope in 1937—to the seizure of North China and the attack on the Yangtze Valley—the Kuomintang was faced with the alternative of either abdicating before Japan or resisting with the help of such material aid as it could secure abroad. Unlike the earlier Japanese drives, the newest campaign threatened the Kuomintang regime in its own strongholds and the bourgeoisie in the very center of its pelf and power. Bolstered by British and American financial aid and a rising economic conjuncture, the Kuomintang had grown firmer and more self-confident. Chiang kai-shek had also liquidated the peasant soviets and moreover, the growth of anti-Japanese sentiment throughout the country made it clear that the limits of the non-resistance policy had been reached. These were the main factors which dictated the shift to a policy of resistance.
15. The newest phase of Japan’s military drive has coincided with the final degeneration of the Communist International. From instruments of the revolutionary class struggle, the Communist parties have been converted into instruments of Stalinist diplomacy. Searching for “allies” among the democratic capitalist powers in face of the growing war threat, the Stalinist bureaucracy ordered these parties to abandon their revolutionary program and support the bourgeoisie of their respective countries. Just as Stalin needed bourgeois France as an “ally” against Hitler’s Germany, so in the Far East he sought ones more an alliance with the bourgeois Kuomintang—this time against militarist Japan. What remained of the Chinese Communist Party after Chiang Kai-shek’s forceful liquidation of the peasant Soviets has publicly surrendered the last remnants of its class struggle policy to enter a “People’s Anti-Japanese Front” with the hangman of the Chinese revolution. The Chinese Stalinists have formally liquidated “Soviet China,” handed over to Chiang Kai-shek the remnants of the peasant Red armies, openly renounced the agrarian struggle, explicitly abandoned the class interests of the workers. Publicly embracing the petty bourgeois doctrines of Sun Yat-sen, they have proclaimed themselves the gendarmes of bourgeois property and, in conformity with Stalinist practise everywhere, the enemies of the revolution.
16. It is the bounden duty of revolutionists to support the struggle of China against Japan. The crime of the Stalinists consists, not in giving such support to the Kuomintang, but in surrendering their class struggle policy, in abandoning the interests of the exploited masses, in capitulating politically to the Kuomin-tang, in abdicating the right of independent mobilization of the masses against Japan, in renouncing revolutionary criticism of the Kuomintang’s conduct of the war, in fortifying Chiang Kai-shek’s leadership, in supporting and spreading the illusion that the Kuomintang and the national bourgeoisie can lead the war to a successful conclusion. By these means, they mislead and confuse the masses of China and obstruct a revolutionary mobilization. Abroad, the Stalin-ists, impotent to arouse the workers to solidarity with China’s cause, make empty appeals to the “democratic” imperialist governments to save China from Japan. More than that, they base these appeals not on any revolutionary ground, since that is precluded, but on the imperialists’ own need to preserve their robber interests in China.
17. British imperialism, with vast trade interests and a two billion dollar investment stake in China, is becoming more and more perturbed by Japan’s advance. The threat to its China interests, however, is but one aspect of British imperialism’s fear for its empire in the coming war for redivision of the world, of which Japan’s attack on China, following Italy’s seizure of Ethiopia and Italo-German intervention in Spain, is but a beginning. Britain strives a desperately to build up a war machine that will be adequate to defend its scattered empire, while pursuing a temporary strategy calculated to delay the inevitable denouément. Unable at present to challenge Japan at arms, particularly in view of its Mediterranean difficulties, Britain seeks to hinder Japan by placing all possible obstacles in its path and, in particular by extending material aid to the Kuomintang. Britain hopes that Japan may become exhausted in a long drawn-out war with China. Britain also banks on the poss-ibility that Japan may become embroiled in war with the USSR, thus staving off the Japanese threat to British possessions and interests in the Far East. A similar hope animates the British imperialists with regard to the Italo-German-Japanese bloc as a whole, which is now the foremost challenger of Britain’s world interests. Meanwhile, fearing that revolts of its millions of colonial slaves will create a dangerous rear in the coming war for the redivision of the world, British imperialism bribes the national bourgeoisie of its colonies (Indian Constitution, Anglo-Egyptian Treaty) in order to secure their allegiance. The centrifugal tendencies in the “dominions” of Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand it seeks to halt by means of trade preference. (Ottawa agreements).
18. American imperialism, although now having fewer and smaller actual interests in China than Great Britain has, is alarmed at the prospect of Japanese domination of the Pacific. Repeated breakdowns in American economy, occurring at shorter intervals, serve warning that if American capitalism is to survive and expand it must soon play a more commanding role, not only in the Pacific area, but on the entire world arena. Roosevelt’s Chicago speech, directed against “aggressor powers”, furnished the key to the future policy of American imperialism. Unable now to challenge Japan, the Washington government tacks along devious diplomatic courses such an the recent Brussels Conference, which are useful for sowing pacifist illusions and thereby preparing the American workers to fight for the interests of American imperialism in the coming wars. At the same time, while according a sham independence to the Philippines in order to enlist the Filipino bourgeoisie to its side, the Washington government builds up a mighty army, navy and air force, and consolidates its empire in the Americas by means of the Pan-American Union preparatory to challenging all its rivals for world supremacy. With regard to the immediate threat of Japan, the American imperialists, too, bank in part on the prospect that a Soviet-Japanese war will destroy their Pacific rival, but the internal crisis raging in the Soviet Union, testifying to the entire instability of the Stalin regime, causes this prospect to recede more and more into the background. In their campaign to veil their war plans, the American imperialists are given the unstinting aid of the Stalinists, who paralleling the betrayal by their China confreres, proclaim the “peaceful role” of American imperialism, call upon the Washington government to save China from Japan, and offer their services as recruiting sergeants for imperialism.
19. France, with a large empire of colonial slaves is interested in the maintenance of the status quo in Europe, Africa and the Far East. French interests in China, though smaller and less diffused, are analogous to those of Great Britain. Being mainly concentrated in the Indo-China colony, they do not come within the orbit of immediate Japanese ambitions. Hence France’s policy of diplomatic conciliation toward Japan, coupled with surreptitious material aid to China, following in all cases the leadership of Great Britain. This policy, however, finds its counterpart in the most vicious exploitation and oppression of the masses of Indo-China and a campaign of violent persecution of the revolutionists in that territory. As partners in the French Popular Front government, the Stalinists bear the fullest responsibility for all the bestial crimes of French Imperialism in Indo-China.
20. The European fascist states, by contrast with Great Britain, the USA and France, have practically no stake in China. Their diplomatic intervention in the Sino-Japanese struggle is designed, in the main, to exploit imperialist antagonisms in the Far East in the interest of furthering their primary European aims. Hitler does, however, have the added motivation to maneuver for recovery of Germany’s former colonial possessions—small as they are—in the Far East. Germany and Italy together seek to play off Japan against Great Britain and France. Japan, on the other hand, dallies with the Rome-Berlin axis for the purpose of blackmailing Great Britain and France and in order to insure a front against the USSR in the West.
21. The USSR as a workers’ state has no imperialist interests or aims in China. On the contrary, it is in the interests of the USSR to help smash imperialism in all its colonial and semi-colonial strongholds by rendering the fullest possible aid to the oppressed peoples in their struggle against imperialism. When Stalinist opportunism brought the great Chinese revolution to ruin in 1927, the USSR’s greatest bulwark, not only against imperialist Japan but against the whole world front of imperialism was destroyed. When Japan subsequently seized Manchuria, Stalin had no alternative but to surrender the Chinese eastern railway, greatest single strategic asset of the USSR in the Far East, and to embark on a course of steady retreat before the Japanese imperialists. In Germany, similarly, Stalinist policies facilitated Hitler’s triumph and increased the war menace on the western frontiers of the USSR. Within the Soviet Union, the system of bureaucratic absolutism engendered a profound internal crisis. Threatening the very foundations of the workers’ state, this crisis has paraIyzed Soviet foreign policy and deprived it of any independent character. Thinking to meet the fascist menace in Europe, Stalin has traded away the independence and revolutionary policies of the Communist parties in exchange for pacts with “democratic” bourgeois states. Desiring to pit China against Japan, he traded away to the Kuomintang what remained of the Chinese Communist Party and the peasant Red armies.
22. It is in the interests of the Soviet bureaucracy that the war between China and Japan should be prolonged, especially in view of the open threat of the Japanese imperialists to attack the USSR as soon as their aims in China are realized and the danger that a defeated China may become an ally of the European fascist states. For these reasons, the Soviet government—after 1etting four precious months slip by, as in Spain—began extending material aid to China, not on the principled basis of aiding an oppressed country against the imperialist oppressor (such revolutionary motivations long ago ceased to be the guiding star of the Stalin government), but purely as a matter of military expediency. To hasten the extension of this aid, the Kuomintang government entered into a “non-aggression pact” with Moscow after having witheld its signature therefrom for four years. This delay reflected the hope of the Kuomintang that it would be able to arrive at an agreement with Japan. Soviet material aid to China has been going mainly to the Kuomintang and not to the former Red Army in the northwest. The aid to the Kuomintang commenced, moreover, at a time when capit-ulatory moods in the party of the Chinese bourgeosie had already begun to weaken the defensive campaign against Japan. It is the lack of any principled revolutionary basis for Soviet policy which deprives this material aid of full effectiveness in China’s struggle. Quantitatively the aid is seriously limited by the internal crisis which the bureaucracy has brought on in the Soviet Union, by Stalinist dependence on Anglo-French imperialism in all spheres of foreign policy, and by Stalin’s need to avoid any premature military embroilment with Japan.
23. Driven against its inclinations into resistance to Japan the Kuamintang has confirmed itself to a purely military-defensive campaign, which while proving totally inadequate has resulted in the futile sacrifices of living forces. From the very beginning of the struggle, the Kuomintang by refusing to abrogate Japan’s imperialist privileges in China, has kept the door open to negotiations with Japan. Compelled to restore a certain amount or freedom to the masses, it has suppressed and driven underground those mass organisations which it was unable to circumscribe and control. Afraid to make good the deficiencies of China’s defence by summoning the widest masses to participate in the struggle, it has already made known its willingness to treat with Japan through the intermediation of “friendly” powers. In the face of this treachery, the Stalinists, having renounced their revolutionary program and political independence, are obliged to maintain a shamefaced silence, thereby making themselves party to the betrayal which the Kuomintang has been preparing. The course of the war has demonstrated that a backward, semi-colonial country, with a feeble industry, poor in heavy armament, cannot long prevail in a purely military-defensive war against a much more powerful adversary. The technical defic-iencies of China’s defense can be made good only by the development of an all-sided political campaign which, combined with military measures, will draw the million-headed masses into the struggle, disrupt the invading forces, fan the embers of revolution in the enemy country, and inspire the world working class to actions of international solidarity. But the masses can be drawn into the struggle only on the basis of a revolutionary program corresponding to their most urgent needs. The invading forces can be dis-rupted only by revolutionary appeals. Revolutionary example alone can help stir revolution in the enemy country. Appeals for international working class solidarity can be effective only on a revolutionary basis. Action along these lines cannot be taken by a bourgeois government of the exploiters, which fears the masses and the revolution more than it does the imperialists. This is why, despite the heroic self of the Chinese soldiers, China’s struggle has displayed in its first stage, under the leadership of the bourgeois Kuomintang, such pitiful bankruptcy and impotence.
24. The Chinese masses hove not yet been able to intervene in the war struggle under their own independent organizations. On the contrary, they have been compelled by all the circumstances to play the role of more or leas passive spectators and victims of events. Held prostrate for years under the military dictatorship of the Kuomintang, which was aided by the economic crisis, the workers finally renewed their activity on the basis of the new conjunctural turn in 1935-6. The war, leading to the outright physical destruction of much of the important industrial concentration area at Shanghai, and the Japanese military occupation of similar areas in North China, has served to halt the process of economic recovery and to check the revival of the organized workers’ movement. Added to this, the renegacy of the Communiat Party, crowning development of years of opportunism and adventurism, has added to the disorientation and confusion of the masses generally. A new turn of events, enabling a new revolut-ionary party to take shape on the foundations created by the Bolshevik Leninists, will be required before the Chinese masses will be able to take to the revolutionary road.
25. Despite the bankruptcy of the Kuomintang regime and the delay in the independent entry of the masses into the struggle, the Japanese Imperialists will find it impossible to conquer China. Insular Britain, in the heyday of world capitalism, could build an empire of millions of colonial slaves in Africa and India proceeding from a powerful economic base at home. Today, the British imperialists are faced with empire doom. Insular Japan, in the era of the twilight of world capitalism, proceeding from a weak economic base, is debarred historically from achieving the imperial destiny of which its ruling classes dream. Underlying the imposing facade of Japanese imperialism are fatal organic weaknesses which have already been aggravated by the military conquest of Manchuria. The resources of Japanese capitalism have already been proved inadequate for the task of empire building. The economic fabric of the country is being strained to breaking point by the new military campaigns. Japanese capitalism survives by means of the intensest exploitation of the Japanese proletariat, while in the countryside the peasants, forming the overwhelming bulk of Japan’s population, are victims of growing impoverishment and distress. The burdens of both workers and peasants are being increased un-bearably by the war. More the 30,000,000 Chinese in Manchuria await the opportunity to throw off the Japanese yoke. Another 21,000,000 Koreans and 5,000,000 Formosans strive for their independence. All these factors constitute the Achilles heel of Japanese imperialism and foredoom it to ultimate destruction. Such military victories as the Japanese army is able to win in China have only an episodic importance. The first serious reverses, which are inevitable if the war is protracted, will become the starting point of social and political explosions in Japan and in the territories of Manchuria, Korea and Formosa. In the final analysis, the cause of the revolution in the Far East will be advanced to the extent that the masses in both Japan and China, and in the Japanese colonies, are successful in preventing the ruling classes from loading on to their backs the cost of the war.
24. Should Japan’s military victories cause the downfall of the Kuomintang regime this will not signify the end of Chinese resistance to Japan, but the end of a single phase of the struggle. In the new phase, the pro-Japanese policies of the Kuomintang’s successors, combined with the intolerable oppression of the Japanese imperialists, will inevitably engender—even if with some delay—a widespread civil war which, being directed against both the Japanese imperialists and the native bourgeois government, is bound to assume the character of a social revolution. Having discovered in action the utter bankruptcy and impotence of the Kuomintang, the national bourgeoisie and their Stalinist allies, the Chinese masses will more than ever incline to rely on their own organizations and their own arms. They will look to the Bolshevik-Leninists for leadership and rally under the revolutionary banner of the Fourth International. The revolutionary resurgence in China will encourage revival of the liberation movements in Manchuria, Korea and Formosa. Social tension in Japan will be sharpened to the point of revolution. The reciprocal interrelationship of these developments will furnish the objective premises for the proletarian and national revolution in China, and the proletarian revolution in Japan. It is the task of revolutionists to prepare for these events. In China, in particular, the Bolshevik-Leninists must participate bravely in the anti-Japanese struggle and raise timely slogans corresponding to the needs of the struggle at each new stage. By these means they will win the confidence of the masses and be able to mobilize them in their own independent organ-isations for revolutionary action.
25. The perspectives outlined above obligate the workers in all countries and especially the revolutionary vanguard, to support China’s struggle against Japan by all possible means. The defeat of Japanese imperialism will open roads to the revolution in China and Japan. But it will also encourage fresh waves of revolt in all the colonies of the imperialist powers. Moreover, it will remove a grave menace to the Soviet Union and stimulate the Soviet proletariat to struggle against the Stalinist regime. Revolutionary support for China’s struggle does not, however, mean that revolutionists must furnish cover for the bankrupt Kuomintang regime and the Chinese bourgeoisie. Nor does it mean calling upon the “democratic” capitalist governments to intervene against Japan and save China, or support of those governments if and when they do intervene against Japan. This is the line of the Stalinist traitors. The imperialists of the West will intervene against Japan only to preserve their own interests in the Far East. If Japanese imperialism should be defeated in China by its imperialist rivals, and not by the revolutionary masses, that would signify the enslavement of China by Anglo-American capital. China’s national liberation, and the emancipation of the Chinese masses from all exploitation, can be achieved only by the Chinese masses themselves, in alliance with the proletariat and oppressed peoples of all the world. The international revolutionary campaign for aid to China must proceed under the banner of workers’ sanctions against Japan and find its full expression in the promotion of the class struggle and the proletarian revolution.