Leon Trotsky

Problems of the Chinese Revolution

Hankow and Moscow

May 28, 1927

What is happening in Hankow now? We can only judge from the telegraphic fragments which Tass does not give to the press.

The Left Guomindang continues to chew the cud of the theory of the solidarity of the workers, peasants and the bourgeoisie in the “national revolution” and recommends to the workers and peasants to observe discipline – towards the bourgeoisie.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party (or the Executive Committee of the Guomindang?) calls upon the trade unions to mind “their own affairs” and to leave to the authorities of the Guomindang the struggle against the counter-revolution.

The leader of the Communist Party, Chen Duxiu, adjures the peasants to wait for land until the external foe is conquered.

From Moscow comes the warning not to create soviets “prematurely”.

In the meantime, imperialism exerts pressure upon Chiang Kai-shek, and Chiang Kai-shek, through the bourgeoisie of Hankow, upon the Left Guomindang.

The Left Guomindang demands discipline and patience from the workers and the peasants.

This is the general picture. Its meaning is completely clear.

What is the Moscow leadership doing these days? We know nothing about it. But we need not doubt that under the influence of the recent extremely disquieting telegrams from Hankow, Moscow is sending advice there with approximately the following content: “As much of the agrarian revolution as possible”; “as many of the masses as possible in the Guomindang”, and so forth. The Communist ministers transmit these counsels to the government and to the Central Executive Committee of the Guomindang.

In this manner, the work of the Communist Party is divided into two parts: aloud, it implores the workers and peasants to wait; but in an undertone it whisperingly adjures the bourgeois government to make haste. But the revolution is a revolution precisely because the masses do not want to wait. The bourgeois “radicals” are afraid to make haste precisely because they are bourgeois radicals. And the Communist Party, instead of bringing the masses to their feet, instead of occupying the land, and building soviets, loses time with sterile counsels to both sides, in accordance with the sacrosanct prescription of Martynov on the bloc of four classes and on the replacement of the revolution by an arbitration committee.

The collapse of this policy is absolutely inevitable. Unless we correct it sharply, instantly and resolutely, the collapse will take place in the immediate future. Then a lot of papers, with Moscow’s advice on them, will be brandished before our eyes: “As much of the agrarian revolution as possible, as many of the masses as possible in the Guomindang.” But then we will repeat just what we say today: Such counsels are humbug. The whole revolution cannot be made dependent upon whether or not the pusillanimous bourgeois leadership of the Guomindang accepts our well-meaning advice. It cannot accept it. The agrarian revolution cannot be accomplished with the consent of Wang Jingwei, but in spite of Wang Jingwei and in struggle against him.

That is why the first task is to free our hands, to withdraw the Communist ministers from the national government, to call upon the masses to occupy the land immediately and to build up soviets.

But for this we need a really independent Communist Party, which does not implore the leaders, but resolutely leads the masses. There is no other road and there can be none.

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Last updated on: 25.1.2007