Li Fu-jen

Survival of Kuomintang Made Possible by CP

(14 February 1949)

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 7, 14 February 1949, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The situation in China is profoundly revolutionary. The overwhelming mass of the people are no longer prepared to tolerate the Kuomintang regime or any deceptive substitute for it. They want to end the system of exploitation and oppression on which this regime has rested. The regime itself is crumbling. Its class backers, the bourgeoisie and the landlords, have lost confidence in it and in their ability to sustain their own class rule. Lacking to convert the revolutionary situation into a social revolution, is a revolutionary party in the tradition of Bolshevism.

What stands out in the present situation is the glaring contradiction between the Stalinist program and policy, on the one hand, and the real revolutionary possibilities on the other. Stalinist program and policy are determined and governed, not by revolutionary considerations, but by the conservative bureaucratic needs of the Kremlin gang and by the still meager bureaucratic interests of the Chinese Stalinists themselves.

A revolutionary situation cannot remain revolutionary for an indefinite period. Unless the Chinese ruling classes are decisively crushed and their properties expropriated in the shortest possible time, they may be able to stage a comeback. The revolutionary situation could turn into its opposite – a counter-revolutionary situation. If the Stalinists were deliberately planning a comeback for Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang, they could scarcely do it more effectively than by their present vacillating, half-way, compromising policy which is adding to the life-span of this reactionary regime. Recent news dispatches show quite clearly that Chiang and his henchmen are using the breathing space provided them by the Stalinists to prepare for a counter-offensive.

The Stalinists permitted the criminal Chiang and the entire personnel of his government to flee safely and'unhindered from Nanking – after making the empty gesture of placing them on a list of “war criminals.” And after they had fled, they “ordered” Li Tsung-jen – head of the Kuomintang’s “caretaker” government in Nanking – to arrest Chiang and the rest of the “war criminals.” A Kerensky entrusted with the arrest of a Kornilov!

But this is not the worst.

An Associated Press dispatch from Shanghai on Jan. 24 stated that “thousands of units of President Chiang Kai-shek’s ‘personal troops’ were streaming southward from the Shanghai-Nanking-Hangchow area, presumably bound for Chekiang province, where President Chiang is in retirement.” And according to Nanking reports, Chiang has withdrawn his air force to Formosa, Canton, Hengyang and other southern bases. Also, sizable military forces commanded by Chiang’s General Pai Chung-hsi in the Hankow area have, been withdrawn to South China. All this without any attempt at interference by the Stalinists.

Any plea that the Stalinists could not arrest Chiang and his government will not hold water. It may be true that swift capture of Nanking was not possible for military reasons, but there were and are other forces available for this job – the Chinese workers. A revolutionary party, with the first signs of the crumbling of the Kuomintang regime – which were apparent months ago – would have appealed to the city workers to arm themselves, to smash the organs of Kuomintang administration, disarm the Kuomintang police, set up Soviets to take over power.

Hating the regime that for them has been nothing but a source of misery and brutal oppression, the workers would have responded with alacrity to such an appeal. They, would have won over to their side the Kuomintang garrison troops, together with their arms. Chiang and his government would have been placed under arrest and the power of this hated regime broken decisively in the strategic centers of its rule.

The troops of both Chiang Kai-shek and Pai Chung-hsi have been moved southward on railroads. An appeal to the railroad workers, who are strong in revolutionary traditions, would have resulted in stalling these counter-revolutionary troop movements. With their withdrawal stopped by paralyzing strike action of the railroad workers, it is certain that many if not all of these troops, like their comrades in North China and Manchuria before them, would have deserted to the Communist Party banners. The complete and irrevocable collapse of the Kuomintang would have been swiftly achieved.

Far from inspiring the workers to such revolutionary actions, the Stalinists have been blaring forth radio propaganda to the cities of a quite opposite kind. The theme has been consistent: “preserve order,” “don’t interrupt production,” “await the arrival of the Red Army.” This is in full conformity with the half-way, reformist program of the Stalinists, which in turn is a product of their fear of the workers. They are determined, if they can, to confine the upheaval within limits safe for themselves and their Kremlin mentors.

Thus, while carrying out a policy of “land to the peasants,” they proclaim themselves the protectors of capitalist private property. They aim to rule China in coalition with the bourgeoisie, if possible, on the basis of a satisfied peasantry, with capitalist property relations left intact. According to the AP’s Peiping correspondent (Jan. 25) a typical “Communist” poster appearing in that city reads: “Long live the Chinese Communist Party. Private enterprise will be protected but bureaucratic capital will be confiscated.” (By “bureaucratic capital” is meant the private fortunes of the Kuomintang officialdom.)

The irony and the paradox of a “Communist” party making itself the guardian of capitalist private property reveal the depths of degeneration to which the Stalinists have sunk, their contempt for the proletariat. Unless the proletariat creates a new revolutionary leadership, and wrenches the whole direction of the insurgent masses from the hands of the treacherous Stalinists, in order to carry the revolution to the end, the paradox could be translated by the further course of events into the catastrophic tragedy of counterrevolution – 1927 all over again.

Unwilling to appeal to the workers for revolutionary action, the Stalinists lamely complain that the Kuomintang, under cover of a pretended interest in ‘“peace” negotiations to end the civil war, is actually playing for time. The Stalinist radio, according to a Nanking dispatch Jan. 26, charged that Li Tsung-jen was “being used as a cover here to give the Kuomintang three months to build up ‘several tens of divisions’ in South China.” Yet the selfsame Li Tsung-jen was expected to arrest Chiang Kai-shek!

A Great Danger

The Kuomintang is only able to play for time because its Stalinist opponents are permitting it to do so. A Nanking dispatch Jan. 28 reported that “topmost diplomatic authorities believe Chiang plans to resume civil war leadershin at Canton, to which the Nanking Government is speeding as fast as transport facilities permit.”

The great cities of South China are the mainstays of Kuomintang power, the strategic centers of bourgeois rule. Swift action bv an aroused proletariat, armed with a revolutionary program, would convert these props of reaction into veritable generating stations of revolutionary power. Without that, and if there should come an unfavorable turn in the military situation, the cities could become rallying points of Kuomiritang resurgence. It is not excluded that, given such a turn of events, the American imperialists might again come to the aid of the Kuomintang.

But even if a Kuomintang comeback proves impossible, a prolongation of the civil war is likely as a result of Stalinist policy. For a people already bled white by long years of war and civil war, this perspective means more tragic suffering. Nor, with the reformist policy of the Stalinists, is any bright road opened to a revolutionary transformation of Chinese society. Thus once again is revealed the poisonous, stultifying influence of Stalinism, the urgent need to remove this obstacle from the path of the socialist revolution.

Last updated on 29 February 2024