A Footnote to Browder’s Record
in the Chinese Revolution

(December 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 51, 31 December 1932, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In the Daily Worker of October 21, the anointed (i.e., appointed) leader of the American party, Earl Browder, directed a venomous attack upon our arrested comrade Chen Du-Hsiu, in the course of which he presented a defense of his own record in the 1925–27 Chinese revolution. Our reply to Browder was printed in the Militant of October 29, 1932. With numerous quotations from the official party press, we proved that not only had Browder and all the other Stalinists “failed to carry on a resolute struggle against Chiang Kai-Shek” (which Browder insists he did carry on), but quite the contrary. We showed that Chiang was covered up by the Stalin-Bucharin regime up to the day he covered up the streets of Shanghai (for the second time!) with proletarian blood. Further, that the Stalin regime (Browder, of course, included) shifted its reliance to Wang Chin Wei and the Hankow government, which promptly proceeded to play the same treacherous role as Chiang had played before them.

As his defense, Browder referred to “records” which he knew were not easy to obtain.

“These show”, he declared, “that in April, in the period when Chen Du-Hsiu was actively and bitterly fighting for the disarmament of the workers and peasants, I wrote a statement for the All-China Federation of Labor energetically calling for the further armament of the workers and peasants and the development of seizure of the land. This statement was printed in English in the magazine Chinese Correspondence published at that time in Hankow.”

Our answer in the Militant on this score read as follows:

“What Browder wrote in his statement at that time, we do not know. It would be interesting to read it, of that we have no doubt. But it is not needed for an estimation of Browder’s position in China during that period, for we have at our disposal fairly adequate material ...”

Browder’s “Records”

Since that was written, our good English comrade H.S., who was in China during the events of which we write, sent us a copy of the Chinese Correspondence, issued in Wuhan (Hankow), seat of the Wang Chin Wei government, under date of May 1, 1927. On page 14 and 15, we find eloquent evidence of Browder’s “resolute struggle”. It is in the form of a Declaration of the Delegation of the Communist International, composed of Browder, Tom Mann of England and Jacques Doriot of France. The declaration was written in Hankow under date of April 22, 1927, that is, after Chiang Kai-Shek’s coup d’état in Shanghai and only a short time befofe the unconcealed treachery of Wang Chin Wei and Co. at Hankow itself.

As for “energetically calling for the further armament of the workers and peasants” – not a trace, not a hint of it is to be found in the declaration of this august delegation.

As for “the development of seizure of the land” – there simply is not a single word said about it in the statement of these official representatives of the Communist International.

And as for the Communist Party of China – this “trifle” is passed by without so much as the vaguest reference to its existence!

But the “resolute struggle against Chiang Kai-Shek” – what about that? The delegation refers to his counter-revolutionary coup d’état of more than a year before (the first one, on March 20, 1926!) and other “previous numerous acts of violation”, and adds the following tearful observation, which should be engraved on tablets:

“We watched all these violent actions of Chiang Kai-Shek and his agents with great anxiety, but hoped that he would hesitate to turn a bare-faced traitor to the Nationalist movement. At this critical period of the nationalist revolution, preservation of the united front is so imperative that all crimes of those who fight against imperialism can be temporarily overlooked.” (Our emphasis – S.)

That was “resolute struggle” Number One: overlooking all the crimes of Chiang Kai-Shek who is, as we see, not the only one that is ... bare-faced.

The statement continues its lament with a reference to the preceding conflict between the Central Committee of the Kuo Min Tang and Chiang, who “appealed to the Communist International to send its delegation in China to visit him”. “We immediately telegraphed him...” writes the delegation, and “informed him that should he take our advice we would visit him in order to discuss the way and means of preserving the unity of the revolutionary forces in the face of imperialist attack.”

That was “resolute struggle” Number Two: begging the man who was so skillfully preparing his treachery, to remain within the fold, to preserve the “unity of the revolutionary forces”.

The Comintern and Hankow

Now what about the petty bourgeois government at Hankow, which succeeded Chiang in the affections of the Comintern, and which was at that very moment laying the basis for its own open shift into the camp of counter-revolution? Did the Comintern Delegation carry on a “resolute struggle” against it? Did it even sound a note of warning? Did it urge the masses to establish their own lighting organs to forestall the consequences of a second calamity? Here is what Browder was “energetically calling for” on April 22, 1927:

“Supported by the united forces of the village and town democracy, that is, the proletariat, peasantry and the middle classes, the Nationalist government (that is, the regime of “comrade Wang Chin Wei”, as Browder so tenderly called him then!) will be able to resist the attack of imperialism and develop the Nationalist revolution in the way which will consolidate its base in the popular masses. Then the nationalist revolution will be free from the danger of betrayal by reactionary elments ...” (Bold face in the original. – S.)

The declaration ends with the slogans: “Down with Chiang Kai-Shekism!” (Very bold slogan, now that Chiang was already massacring the masses!), “Long live the Nationalist Government! Long live the Kuo Min Tang!”

As the “nationalist revolution” was not “free from the danger of betrayal” – on the contrary, Wang promptly “betrayed” it – we can only conclude that the fault lay not with the Hankow regime but ... with the “united forces of village and town democracy”. It would appear that Wang “betrayed” because the masses failed to support him, as Browder urged in the course of his resolute struggle.

The whole situation is as clear as crystal. Browder – but enough of Browder; he was only an obscure agent – we mean the Stalin faction. Stalin did indeed fight resolutely against Chiang and Wang Chin Wei. But the fight began only after the horse, which Stalin helped these counter-revolutionists to mount, had ridden rough-shod over the prostrate bodies of the Chinese masses.

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