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Labor Action, 1 August 1949


Guerrilla Opposition Against CP
Makes News in Rumania and China


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 31, 1 August 1949, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


From widely scattered parts of the world come reports of active armed opposition to the Stalinist dictatorship. This last week alone, news was published of guerrilla oppositions operating on sufficiently large scales to attract public attention in the official Stalinist press in Estonia, Rumania, Manchuria and North China.

In every one of these cases the opposition seems to be a peasant opposition. This is certainly true in Manchuria and North China. However, it would be erroneous to assume an exclusively peasant character, since all elements who decide on armed struggle are of necessity forced to the countryside to establish operating bases. Most likely all of these groups are of mixed character and origin.

That they do operate in remote regions is one of the reasons their histories remain obscure. It is impossible to determine how many such different partisan bands there are in the vast Stalinist domains, but from occasional information (such as this week’s revelations) we must assume that armed guerrilla movements are not uncommon. For in the brutal regime of totalitarianism every opposition must at its very inception determine its military defense. The nature of these movements is indicative of the harsh brutality of the dictatorship.

Only MVD Troops Used

A Prague dispatch to the New York Times describes conditions in Rumania as follows: According to reliable information, armed partisan resistance to Rumania’s Stalinist government has become so widespread geographically, although small in terms of unit size, that the Bucharest regime has ordered special shock detachments of the state militia to attempt to clean it up.

The last detail here is of note. In almost all cases the regime is fearful of using regular troops because of frequent desertions and it resorts to special bands of political police. In Russia, in the campaigns against the Ukrainian revolutionary democratic guerrillas, only MVD troops were trusted with the task.

In the case of the Rumanian groups the reports from government sources indicate links with monasteries in the remote forest and mountain regions. The number of killed and wounded on both sides indicates the large scale of these battles. The recurrence of these partisan bands many times after their official extermination indicates a high degree of popular support and the fact that the oppression is too severe to permit their complete extermination.

In the Baltic states the Stalinist policy has included forced collectivization as part of the process of absorption into the greater Russian empire and cultural Russification.

There are increasing reports of mass deportation from the entire eastern [sic! western?] border of Russia and especially from the Baltic states, many

parts of which are now settled byRussian peasants who have been transplanted into these old communities, very often also forcibly. Even the cities are being Russified. Thus it is reported that Königsburg, in former East Prussia, has become a Russian city.

These facts provide the drives to opposition. They are matters of life and death, for to be forcibly deported to the far wastes of Asiatic Russia is for these people tantamount to extinction. It is not suprising that partisan groups are active here.

Red Spears Take Field

The news from China is more obscure. There the regime is too new for a clear judgment on the causes of opposition. Thus it may be that in isolated instances Kuomintang elements may take the field.

Or, as is hinted, in North China provinces such as Shantung, the Red Spears, a secret society that goes back 500 years in the history of peasant uprisings, has gone into opposition. The Red Spears have had a checkered career, at times being the organizer of the peasants versus the tyrants of state and landlords; at other times it has been the rallying center of the gentry against the peasants. There is no information available on its present role.

However, continued inflation, recent floods which usually bring famine in their wake, may be factors. Also Stalinist taxation is on the rise in the securely conquered areas in Manchuria and North China. This taxation is not yet of the level of the Kuomintang’s but is rising steadily as the CP begins its economic program, particularly industrialization. Peasants who but yesterday fought the government for better conditions are not likely to permit the new regime to exercise its oppression easily. Thus one of the bands is supposed to have raised the slogan: Crush the Kuomintang and Down with the Communists.

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